Arteriosclerosis simply means stiffening of the arteries, and is of several different types. Typically, it involves the hardening of the arteries, and is accompanied by a loss of elasticity in the arterial walls. Arteriosclerosis usually refers to medium and large arteries, but it also includes arteriosclerosis, which is the hardening of small arteries, usually as a result of hypertension.
The most common type of arteriosclerosis is a condition known as atherosclerosis, which involves a specific type of hardening of the arteries. In atherosclerosis, fatty materials (usually cholesterol) form thick, waxy plaques on the walls of the arteries. Cholesterol crystals also form on the artery walls, and older deposits start to calcify and harden. This type of arteriosclerosis is the type that can affect the kidneys, leading to a dangerous condition known as renal artery stenosis. In this condition, arteriosclerosis affects the renal arteries, which is the main blood vessel that carries blood to the kidneys. The artery narrows, and as a result, blood flow to one or both of the kidneys may be reduced, sometimes drastically. This eventually leads to atrophy of the affected kidney and an increase in blood pressure. If the problem is not detected and treated in time, kidney failure can occur. Unfortunately, renal artery stenosis causes no real symptoms, and it is therefore usually detected only by accident, in the course of tests for some other problem, such as hypertension.
Renal artery stenosis can be caused by a variety of other factors, such as fibromuscular dysplasia and the development of abnormal, fibrous bands. The most common cause however is arteriosclerosis, and specifically atherosclerosis. Treatment therefore usually involves measures to control this problem. The affected artery must of course be treated, and this is usually done by performing an angioplasty.
As far as home remedies and lifestyle measures go, the most important thing is eating a more healthy diet. It is essential that you reduce your intake of fat as well as salt. High cholesterol foods should also be avoided, and if necessary, your doctor will prescribe medication to control cholesterol levels. If you smoke, you must certainly stop smoking, as this is proven to cause additional damage to the arteries. Along with these measures, you must also start exercise regularly. Moderate exercise should be enough – avoid suddenly taking up anything too strenuous. However, even with moderate exercise, it is usually advisable to get your doctor’s clearance and advice first.