Renal artery stenosis is a disease where the arteries responsible for transporting blood to one or both of the kidneys become narrowed. The two leading causes of renal artery stenosis include atherosclerosis and fibromuscular dysplasia. Atherosclerosis causes the arteries around the body to harden and narrow because of plaque buildup, while fibromuscular dysplasia causes the arteries to become narrowed from abnormal tissue overgrowth in the artery walls. When renal artery stenosis occurs, the body can sense an inadequate amount of blood is reaching the kidneys. The body then mistakenly believes the blood pressure throughout the body is too low. The body responds to this by the release of certain hormones that increase blood pressure. Long-term hypertension caused by worsening renal artery stenosis can cause kidney failure.
Medications To Relax Blood Vessels
The use of medications to relax blood vessels is a common component in the treatment of renal artery stenosis because they lower blood pressure. One significant concern about renal artery stenosis is how it causes long-term hypertension. High blood pressure over time can result in numerous life-threatening conditions and diseases when it is not adequately treated. For most renal artery stenosis patients, a combination of two or more medications is used to relax the blood vessels to decrease blood pressure. Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors work to help stop the production or action of a naturally occurring chemical that causes the blood vessels to narrow called angiotensin II. Medications that dilate the blood vessels and slow the heart rate are called beta blockers and alpha-beta blockers. Calcium channel blockers help relax the blood vessels by acting on the calcium channels responsible for regulating the heartbeat. It is common for renal artery stenosis patients to be put on one or more of these drugs on a long-term basis.