Arteriosclerosis is a medical condition in which there’s a buildup of fat in the arteries on your body, and on the artery walls. When this occurs, the arteries, which are generally very flexible and elastic, become stiffer. Over time, this can restrict the blood flow. Also, plaque builds up on the walls of the artery and it can break up, causing potential blood clots.
This preventable and treatable condition is one for which it’s most important to seek medical help if you believe you may need it.
How does this relate to kidney disease and function? It’s estimated that 90 percent of cases of renal artery stenosis are caused by this particular condition. In short, if you have chronic kidney disease, you’re more likely to develop this condition than if you don’t.
Other causes of arteriosclerosis include:
- High cholesterol levels
- A high stress level
- High blood pressure
- Being male (men are more likely to develop the condition than women)
Some types of viral infections and allergies can also lead to the development of this condition. In all situations, treatment for the condition is necessary and recommended. However, it can be hard for doctors to diagnose conditions such as chronic kidney disease, which would help to pinpoint symptoms for this condition as well. Nevertheless, a family history of the condition or other symptoms of it can help doctors in their diagnosis.
To diagnose this condition, doctors have several options. First, they’ll look at your previous medical history and ask about conditions you might have, including chronic kidney disease. Then, during a physical exam, the doctor may look for a decreased pulse present in any artery, decreased blood pressure in one of the limbs, or a bulge in the abdomen or behind your knee. Further testing, including the use of ultrasounds, can help to make a definitive diagnosis.
There are treatment options for those who have this problem. If the condition is caught early enough, individuals can treat arteriosclerosis with simply exercise and reduced stress. In addition, maintaining healthy blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels will also offer significant help.
Be sure and get help for kidney disease, or for any of the underlying causes as well. In some cases, especially as symptoms progress, it may be necessary to undergo surgical procedures to open up the arteries.