Hypertension is simply the medical term for high blood pressure. Renal hypertension is also called renovascular hypertension or renal artery stenosis. The condition produces high blood pressure around the body because the blood vessels inside the kidneys are more constricted than normal, causing the blood to pump through more quickly than normal. Treatments focus on widening the blood vessels and improving blood flow rates, which may involve such treatment options as medication, lifestyle changes and even surgery.
Lifestyle factors are important both for the development of renal hypertension and the alleviation of the condition. Commonly, renal hypertension occurs because the interior of the blood vessels in the kidney become clogged with fats. The level of these fats in the blood rises when a patient eats high energy, fatty foods, and does little exercise to burn off the energy from these foods.
Smoking and using drugs like cocaine can also increase the risk of renal hypertension. Lots of salt and alcohol in the diet also increase the risk of the condition occurring, as does being overweight or suffering from diabetes. Only sometimes is the condition caused by a disease called fibromuscular dysplasia, which is unrelated to lifestyle choices.
Altering these lifestyle factors, like increasing exercise and improving diet, can therefore improve the extent of the hypertension. Medical drugs can also help patients with renal hypertension, and individual patients require different types of these drugs, to suit their own type of disease. Examples of the kinds of medications that may help include angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs.)
Surgery is not usually necessary for people who suffer from relatively mild renal hypertension, but can help those with more serious disease. Angioplasty, which involves the insertion of a balloon into the blood vessels in order to physically widen them, is one option. Stents, which are synthetic tubes, may also be placed into the vessels during the operation, and left in place to keep the channels open.
Another surgical choice is to revascularize the area of the blood vessels, which involves bypassing the narrowed vessels with a graft of another vessel from elsewhere in the body. Surgery is often beneficial for people who suffer from fibromuscular dysplasia, but is less successful for people whose disease is caused by other factors. Surgical options carry a risk of death from the surgery or from the anesthesia and medications also carry a risk of potential side effects.