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The Connection Between High Blood Pressure and Kidneys
High blood pressure is the second leading cause of chronic kidney disease (CKD). About 29% of kidney failure cases in the US are caused by high blood pressure. If you've been diagnosed with high blood pressure (hypertension), it's important to follow your doctor's recommendations for lowering blood pressure and take all medication exactly as prescribed to help protect your health and your kidneys.
What is high blood pressure?
- Blood pressure is the measurement of the force of blood against your artery walls as it flows through your body.
- High blood pressure, also called hypertension, means this force is consistently too high.
- A blood pressure measurement has 2 numbers. Systolic (the top number) measures how much pressure your blood is exerting when your heart beats. Diastolic (the bottom number) measures how much pressure your blood is exerting when your heart is between beats. It is typically expressed as systolic "over" diastolic.
- High blood pressure is 130 or higher systolic pressure, or 80 or higher diastolic pressure.
What are symptoms of high blood pressure?
More than 100 million American adults have high blood pressure—that's nearly half of adults in the US. Often there are no symptoms or warning signs, even with very high blood pressure, and the potential complications are extremely serious. Risks of high blood pressure include heart attack and stroke, as well as kidney disease.
Can high blood pressure cause kidney disease?
Kidneys use blood vessels to clean your blood of wastes, toxins and excess fluid. High blood pressure means that high pressure is consistently being exerted against the walls of arteries throughout the body, which can damage blood vessels over time. Damage to blood vessels, including the hardening and narrowing of arteries around the kidneys, can prevent your kidneys from cleaning blood—eventually leading to kidney disease.
Kidney disease or kidney failure due to high blood pressure may take years to develop. If you are diagnosed with kidney disease, it's important to know that there are things you can do to manage CKD and thrive.
TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE AND CKD
Your doctor is your best source of information on the risks of high blood pressure and kidneys. He or she can assess your overall health and medications to design a care plan that helps you feel your best.
How to reduce high blood pressure
Lowering high blood pressure is important to your overall health. Your doctor can create a treatment plan to help you take control of your blood pressure. Here are some steps to discuss:
- Eating a healthy, low-salt diet
- Doing regular physical activity
- Managing stress
- Quitting smoking
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Limiting caffeine and alcohol intake
- Taking any prescribed medications
Questions about hypertension and kidney disease? Ask your doctor or nurse.