Doctor's Notes on Renal Artery Stenosis
Renal artery stenosis describes the narrowing of the renal (kidney) arteries, which can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension). This occurs when one of the renal arteries narrows causing decreased blood flow to the kidney and to the macula densa (the specialized, blood-pressure sensing cells in the kidney). These cells falsely presume the low blood flow is occurring throughout the body and that overall blood pressure is too low. This triggers to increase blood pressure in response.
Renal artery stenosis causes high blood pressure, which is often referred to as the "silent killer" because there are often specific symptoms. Over time the elevated blood pressure stresses the body’s major organs, and becomes a risk factor for heart attack and stroke. Symptoms of renal artery stenosis may occur due to damage to the kidneys, and can include fatigue, feeling unwell (malaise), and slight confusion due to a buildup of waste products in the body.
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Acute Kidney FailureKidney failure, or the ability of the kidneys to filter water and waste, is caused by prerenal, postrenal, or renal problems with the kidney(s). Symptoms of kidney failure include decreased urine production, confusion, fatigue, lethargy, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, problems concentrating, edema, and a metallic taste in the mouth. Treatment for kidney failure depends upon the cause.
Chronic Kidney DiseaseTwenty percent of people over the age of 20 years will develop chronic kidney disease in their lifetime. Chronic kidney disease causes are diseases of the kidney(s), diabetes, uncontrolled high blood pressure, Glomerulonephritis, polycystic disease, medications, and other conditions. Symptoms include; fatigue, nausea and vomiting, edema, itching, easy bruising, anemia, headaches, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, chest pain, and more. Treatment for kidney disease generally involves dialysis, or kidney transplantation depending on the condition of the person and kidney(s).
Dehydration in AdultsDehydration occurs when the loss of body fluids (mostly water), exceeds the amount that is taken in. Causes of dehydration include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, diseases (diabetes), impaired ability to drink, lack of access to safe drinking water, and injuries to the skin. Common symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, dry skin, headache, low urine output, tiredness, sleepiness, dry mouth, and increased thirst. Treatment of dehydration depends upon the severity of the condition.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)High blood pressure (hypertension) may be present in an individual, without any symptoms. Thus, it is called the "silent killer." Causes of high blood pressure include heart disease, kidney disease, tumors, birth control, alcohol, thyroid dysfunction, and birth control pills.Treatment of high blood pressure is generally through diet, exercise, and medication if necessary.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a scanner that takes cross-sectional images of the body. It is used to evaluate tissues of the head, neck, chest, limbs, abdomen, and pelvis. MRI is a very safe procedure; sedation may be used for infants, small children, or adults who are claustrophobic.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.