What questions should I ask my doctor about my renal artery disease risk?

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Renal artery disease, also called renal artery stenosis (RAS), describes a condition where the arteries that carry blood to the kidneys have blockages in them. Blockages restrict blood flow, and can raise blood pressure in the body to very high levels, and can ultimately lead to kidney damage or failure. If you have had a heart attack or stroke or have been diagnosed with blockages in your leg arteries, you are also at risk for RAS.

The following questions can help you talk to your physician about your individual risk for RAS. Print out or write down these questions and take them with you to your appointment. Taking notes can help you remember your doctor’s response when you get home.

  • Based on my family history, am I at greater risk for RAS?
  • Based on my personal history, am I at greater risk for RAS?
  • Does high blood pressure increase my risk of having RAS?
  • Does diabetes increase my risk of having RAS?
  • Do my cholesterol levels put me at risk for RAS?
  • Is my weight within a healthy range?
  • Can you help me quit smoking?
  • Is my blood pressure within the normal range? Can you help me control high blood pressure?
  • What dietary choices should I be making for cardiovascular health?
  • What level of exercise is safe for me and will also have cardiovascular benefits?