Kidney damage is a common cause and result of high blood pressure. Discover how the diseases are linked and how to treat them simultaneously.
Most people don’t consider that high blood pressure can lead to kidney damage until they have hypertension or chronic renal disease. Nonetheless, the link has been extensively studied.
The answer can be found in blood vessels. High blood pressure can harden or narrow arteries and veins around the kidneys, compromising blood supply.
Studies suggest that in the USA, every second adult has a blood pressure disorder. Similarly, more than 1 in 7 individuals develop kidney conditions, demonstrating an overlap between the ailments.
This article examines the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and management of kidney disease concerning high blood pressure.
- There is a well-documented connection between high blood pressure and kidney damage.
- Blood vessels play a pivotal role. However, symptoms of both conditions can often go unnoticed.
- With medication and adapting your lifestyle, you can prevent kidney disease caused by hypertension.
How Can High Blood Pressure Damage Kidneys?
Kidney damage and high blood pressure can be caused by one another. However, the fact is hypertension and diabetes are the leading causes of kidney failure.
High blood pressure causes vascular constriction. In the long run, this leads to organ damage due to weakened or damaged vessels throughout your body.
Damage to kidney vessels impairs the organ’s ability to filter blood and perform other vital functions. This includes removing toxins and waste in your system.
The additional fluids in your blood can further elevate high blood pressure. If left uncontrolled, this can cause kidneys to stop working entirely.
Symptoms of Kidney Damage and Hypertension
Early stages of kidney disease may be symptom-free, like hypertension. However, swelling (edema), nausea, loss of appetite, urination difficulty, and an inability to concentrate are vital indicators of renal problems.
Patients may require dialysis or a kidney transplant if an end-stage diagnosis is made. Symptoms include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Appetite and weight loss
- Muscle cramping
- Dry, numb, or darkened skin
- Changes in urination frequency
- Difficulty breathing or chest pain
The Expert Diagnosis
Consistent pressure over 130/80 means hypertension according to blood pressure charts. However, like high blood pressure, kidney damage usually goes undetected.
The rate at which waste is eliminated from the body reflects kidney function.
To determine kidney health, your doctor will conduct blood tests for urea nitrogen, serum creatinine, and glomerular filtration rate. Kidney disease can also elevate protein levels like albumin in the urine.
Prevention and treatment
Lifestyle (including dietary) modifications and the addition of supplements to lower blood pressure are the first line of defense to prevent and treat both diseases.
In addition to exercise, quitting smoking, managing weight, and mental health care, certain prescription medications are aimed at people risking kidney damage. Simply put, there are many effective ways to lower and maintain hypertension that reduce this risk significantly.
Treatment options include:
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors reduce enzyme production to prevent vascular constriction.
Prevent binding of angiotensin and receptors that constrict vessels.
Reduce heart rate, blood flow, and hormones that cause hypertension.
Also known as water pills, this medication encourages the removal of excess sodium and waste fluids.
Relaxes nerve impulses to relax blood vessels.
A potential outcome of hypertension is damage to blood vessels and organs such as the kidneys. In addition, a delay in receiving treatment increases the risk of waste fluid build-up, which elevates the chance of complications and, ultimately, renal failure.
If your doctor has diagnosed you with hypertension, you might be recommended adaptations to your lifestyle and medications. It’s vital to take prescription drugs as indicated and attend follow-ups as scheduled to check blood pressure.
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