If you have high cholesterol, you're at risk for plaque buildup in arteries located all over your body. Plaque deposits can affect any of your major organs, including your kidneys. When plaque builds up in the arteries responsible for supplying your kidneys with blood, you may experience narrowing of the arteries or, in severe cases, complete blockage. In addition to plaque, blockages can be caused by blood clots and thickening of the artery walls. If the blood supply to your kidneys is interrupted or slowed for any reason, you may experience one of the following complications.
If your kidneys aren't receiving a sufficient supply of oxygenated blood, they cannot perform their jobs properly. Kidney failure can affect one or both kidneys. When your kidneys fail, they are no longer able to filter waste from your blood, which causes an overload of toxins in your system. Symptoms of kidney failure include weakness, shortness of breath, swelling, lethargy, confusion, and an abnormal heart rhythm. Severe kidney failure, if not treated, can become deadly. In some cases, the blockages can be removed, which will improve the situation. If the kidneys are beyond repair, however, dialysis may be necessary.
Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure
Your kidneys play a major role in controlling your blood pressure because they regulate the volume of blood in your body by telling the body to retain or shed water. Higher water retention increases blood volume, which, in turn, increases blood pressure. Kidneys also regulate blood pressure hormonally. When kidneys do not receive adequate blood, they release a hormone called renin. This hormone causes elevated blood pressure. As the kidneys desperately try to increase blood flow, you may experience uncontrolled high blood pressure.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure and water retention can lead to congestive heart failure, a condition in which the weakened heart cannot adequately pump blood throughout the body. In patients with kidney failure and heart failure, both conditions must be controlled simultaneously, as they tend to influence each other. For example, if the kidneys are not receiving adequate blood due to heart failure, they will continue to try to increase blood volume and blood pressure, which will worsen heart failure.
As you can see, there are several severe complications that can occur due to decreased blood flow to your kidneys. To diagnose a vascular issue with your kidneys, your doctor will order several tests which may include vascular imaging of the kidney. Once your doctor knows where the blockage is located, they can decide on a proper course of action. Talk to a doctor at a location like DeSoto Memorial Hospital for more information.