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Effects of High Blood Pressure on Your Kidney

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, contributes to kidney disease and kidney failure (end-stage renal disease). The blood arteries and filters in the kidneys may get damaged due to the high pressure of the blood. Therefore, making removing waste from the body more challenging. When end-stage renal impairment is diagnosed, dialysis, a blood-purifying procedure, or kidney transplantation are both required.

What is High Blood Pressure?

As your heart pumps out blood, blood presses against the walls of your blood vessels, creating blood pressure. Hypertension is an increase in the force that blood exerts on blood arteries as it circulates through the body, causing the heart to work harder to pump blood.

What Are Kidneys And What Are Their Functions?

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs on either side of your spine, below your abdomen, and below your ribs. Healthy kidneys filter roughly half a cup of blood every minute, eliminating wastes and excess water to create urine and help keep the body's chemicals (such as sodium, potassium, and calcium) balanced.

High Blood Pressure and Its Effect on Kidneys

Uncontrolled hypertension over time can lead to the arteries around the kidneys becoming more constricted, frail, or rigid.

Your kidneys may no longer function correctly if their blood arteries are damaged. The kidneys cannot wholly cleanse your body of wastes and excess fluid when this occurs. Additionally, too much fluid in the blood arteries can create a deadly cycle, which can elevate your blood pressure and further damage your kidneys.

  • Kidney arteries with damage do not filter blood efficiently.

Nephrons filter your blood. The smallest blood vessels that provide nephrons’ blood supply are tiny capillaries that resemble hairs. The nephrons do not obtain vital oxygen and nutrients when the arteries are damaged. The kidneys thus become less effective in filtering blood and controlling the body's fluid, hormones, acids, and salts.

  • Kidney damage impairs the ability to control blood pressure.

Aldosterone, a hormone generated by the adrenal glands that help in blood pressure regulation, affects healthy kidneys. Therefore, having damaged kidneys and having unregulated hypertension together creates a vicious cycle. The kidneys gradually fail when more arteries clog and stop working.

Who Is Prone to Kidney Disease as a Result of High Blood Pressure?

Every race and group is affected by kidney disease brought on by excessive blood pressure. However, other populations are more vulnerable, including:

  • Age

Older adults frequently have chronic kidney disease (CKD), which has been linked to higher morbidity and death rates.

  • Hereditary or people with a family history of high blood pressure and kidney disease

Consequently, kidney disease runs in families. If you have an immediate relative who has a kidney illness, you could be more prone to get kidney disease yourself.

  • Unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits

Sodium and phosphorus are essential nutrients found in processed meals. The amount of phosphorus in the diets of many persons with the renal disease must be restricted. According to several research, even those without renal illness who consume much phosphorus from processed meals may have kidney and bone damage.

  • African-Americans

A glomerular filtration rate (GFR) test measures how effectively your kidneys function. Only in Black individuals is an eGFR racial modifier applied. Because of this, if you are Black and have the same serum creatinine, age, and body size as someone of a different race, your computed eGFR will automatically be more significant than theirs.

  • Hispanic-Americans

While the age- and sex-adjusted prevalence rate of end-stage renal disease is approximately 50% higher in Hispanics compared with non-Hispanic whites, chronic kidney disease (CKD) is similar or slightly lower in Hispanics than non-Hispanic whites.

  • Native Americans

Native Americans are more likely to have diabetes, which increases their risk of getting chronic kidney disease.

  • Diabetics

High blood sugar over time can harm kidney blood vessels and nephrons, impairing their ability to function as they should. High blood pressure is a common complication of diabetes and can also damage the kidneys.

  • Male

Because of differences in hormone levels, men may be at increased risk of reaching kidney failure sooner than women. This is because higher testosterone levels in men may cause a loss in kidney function.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure And Kidney Disease

Asymptomatic hypertension is normal for most people. Rarely, headaches brought on by high blood pressure might occur.

Asymptomatic early CKD is another possibility. Some individuals may experience edema, a swelling, as their renal condition worsens. When the kidneys cannot eliminate excess fluid and salt, edema develops. Legs, feet, ankles, or—less frequently—the hands or face might have edema.

Advanced renal disease symptoms might include the following:

  • appetite loss, nauseousness, or vomiting

  • sleep issues, fatigue, or sleepiness

  • migraines or difficulty concentrating

  • altered levels of urination

  • generalized numbness or itching, dry skin, or skin discoloration

  • weight loss

  • muscle pain

  • chest discomfort or breathlessness

The Diagnosis of Kidney Disease

You might not be aware that you have kidney disease, much like hypertension. Specific laboratory procedures can determine your kidneys' ability to eliminate waste materials adequately. Serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) tests are among them; excessive values of either might signify renal impairment. Also, another indication of renal disease is excessive protein in the urine or proteinuria.

How To Gradually Lessen the Progression of Kidney Disease from High Blood Pressure?

Taking action to decrease your blood pressure is the most distinctive approach to delaying or minimizing renal damage caused by excessive blood pressure. These actions involve a mix of prescription drugs and lifestyle modifications, such as:

  • Engaging in physical activity

Regular physical activity can lower your blood pressure and reduce your chances of other health problems.

  • Keeping a healthy weight

During the first year of hypertension medication, try to lose 7 to 10 percent of your body weight if you are obese or overweight. Losing this much weight can reduce your risk of hypertension-related health issues.

  • Stop smoking

You should stop smoking if you do. Smoking can damage blood vessels, increase the risk of developing hypertension, and worsen hypertension-related health issues.

  • Adhering to a balanced diet that limits sodium (salt) consumption

A nutritious eating regimen helps reduce your blood pressure. Any healthy eating plan should include cutting back on your salt intake.

High blood pressure can exacerbate renal disease regardless of its underlying cause. If you have renal disease, you should discuss your personal blood pressure goals and how frequently you should have your blood pressure monitored with your healthcare provider.

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