Risk Factors for RAS & RVH

Risk factors associated with the development of atherosclerotic RAS include the following:

  • Carotid artery disease
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity
  • Age
  • Peripheral vascular disease (vascular disease in the extremities, e.g., the legs)
  • Smoking

There is often a familial history of FMD RAS.

Causes of RAS & RVH

Most RAS is caused by atherosclerosis or "hardening of the arteries." Atherosclerosis is the build up of cholesterol deposits, or plaque, in the lining of the arteries.

Symptoms of RAS & RVH

Conditions that may indicate atherosclerotic RAS include the following:

  • Asymmetrical (differently sized and shaped) kidneys seen on ultrasound
  • History of calf pain when walking—indicates impaired circulation to the legs
  • Intolerance of specific antihypertensive medications—angiotensin-I (ACE-I) inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)—with a sudden worsening of renal function
  • More than three antihypertensive medications needed for blood pressure control
  • New onset of high blood pressure in a patient over 55 years old
  • Presence of a bruit (sound or murmur heard with a stethoscope) in the abdomen (e.g., groin), neck, or other area
  • Sudden worsening of high blood pressure in a patient whose blood pressure had been well controlled, especially if the patient is over 60

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 May 2001

Last Modified: 20 Feb 2015