High blood pressure, also called or hypertension, is the second leading cause of kidney failure. Kidneys play a valuable role in our bodies by monitoring the levels of chemicals and toxins in our blood and filtering out excess waste. In order to function and filter properly, however, our kidneys rely on tiny blood vessels and the arteries that supply them with oxygen and nutrients.
High Blood Pressure and Kidney Failure
High blood pressure can damage arteries, making them narrow, weak, hard, and unable to deliver needed blood to the kidneys. Without blood our kidneys are no longer able to manage the fluid, hormones, acids, and salts in our body.
High blood pressure and kidney damage form a vicious cycle, as kidneys produce a hormone that helps regulate our body’s ability to manage a healthy blood pressure. Thus, as kidneys fail our blood pressure can spike, worsening our kidneys further.
Diagnosing High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can can often occur without symptoms. However, if your blood pressure remains high after repeated appointments, your provider may determine that you suffer from hypertension. If your provider is concerned about kidney damage, they may check for kidney disease through urine or blood tests.
Treating and Preventing High Blood Pressure
The best way to limit your risk of developing kidney disease from hypertension is to lower your blood pressure using medications and making lifestyle changes. Eat healthy, exercise often, quit smoking, and learn how to manage your stress in an appropriate way.
If needed, your doctor may recommend a medication (or several) to lower your blood pressure. Common medications include angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs), diuretics, beta blockers, and others. Talk to your trusted Intermountain physician to learn more if you suffer from high blood pressure and possibly at risk of developing kidney conditions.
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