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High Blood Pressure and Kidney Disease (Hypertension)

Kidneys and their function

Effect of High Blood Pressure on Kidneys

Risk factors for High Blood Pressure & Kidney Disease

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

Advanced Kidney Disease Symptoms

How Do Nephrologists Diagnose Kidney Disease?

How can you prevent kidney disease from High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Blood pressure is a force or pressure the blood exerts on the walls of blood vessels when the heart pumps out blood. When the amount of pressure or force exerted by the blood increases on the walls of blood vessels as the blood moves through them, it is known as hypertension or high blood pressure.

Kidneys and their function

You have two kidneys. Their function is to filter blood and remove wastes and extra water from the body and make urine. Urine formed in the kidneys flows through two thin tubes to the bladder. Your bladder stores urine. You have a urinary tract system comprising two kidneys, two thin ureters on either side of the bladder, and a bladder to store urine.

Effect of High Blood Pressure on Kidneys

Blood vessels constrict due to high blood pressure and bear the force of blood constantly throughout the body. When the blood vessels within the kidneys are subjected to high blood pressure, they become weak and get damaged. Kidney cells become vulnerable to damage and do not work properly to remove waste and excess water from the body. Excess fluid further augments blood pressure within the kidneys making them more vulnerable to damage. Thus, a dangerous cycle of high blood pressure, damage, and excess fluids develop and persists causing severe damage to the kidneys – eventually leading to kidney failure.

Risk factors for High Blood Pressure and Kidney Disease

A family history of high blood cholesterol levels and high blood pressure: If high blood pressure runs in families, close relatives, and siblings are at risk of developing high blood pressure.

The aging process increases the risk of hypertension because as we get older, our blood vessels tend to thicken and become stiff.

Sex: males are more likely to develop hypertension at a younger age compared to women.

Unhealthy Lifestyle – sedentary lifestyle – inactivity, eating unhealthy foods, high salt intake, fatty foods, preserved and canned food intake, consuming high-salt content foods, drinking excess beverages, alcohol, and soft drinks can increase the risk of high blood pressure.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure / Kidney Disease

High blood pressure usually doesn’t cause any symptoms, but, in some cases, headaches are the major symptoms of hypertension.

In addition, chronic kidney disease in the initial stages is a silent affair. It doesn’t cause any symptoms. But, when the kidney disease progresses and becomes worse, it may cause edema (swelling). When kidneys fail to get rid of excess fluid and salts – edema, and swelling occurs in the ankles, feet, legs, abdomen, and less often on the face and hands.

Advanced Kidney Disease Symptoms

Advanced Kidney Disease Symptoms may include the following:

  • Decreased urination or increased urination frequency
  • Feeling tired, drowsiness, sleep problems
  • Muscles cramps
  • Dry skin, numbness or generalized itching, or darkened skin
  • Nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite
  • Headaches or trouble concentrating
  • Muscles cramps
  • Weight loss
  • Headaches
  • chest pain or shortness of breath

How Do Nephrologists Diagnose Kidney Disease?

A nephrologist evaluates the symptoms of the patient. Even in the absence of symptoms if they suspect that high blood pressure is causing silent damage to the kidneys, they recommend a blood test. Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is a blood test that checks how well kidneys are filtering blood. They also check a protein called albumin in the urine. This protein passes into the urine when the kidneys are damaged.

How can you prevent kidney disease from High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure and kidney disease: You can prevent kidney disease from high blood pressure or lower your high blood pressure by taking the following measures:

  • Reduce salt intake
  • Don’t consume canned, processed, and preserved foods
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Remain physically active
  • Quit smoking
  • Do physical and mental activity regularly

Your nephrologist may also suggest other measures and lifestyle changes in addition to prescribing some medicines to prevent high blood pressure and kidney disease.


high blood pressure and kidney disease