Dr. MJ Bazos MD<
Pressure (Hypertension) and Kidney Disease
Your kidneys play a role in keeping your
blood pressure at the right level. This is important because blood pressure is
closely related to the health of the kidneys. High blood pressure, also called
hypertension, can damage the kidneys.
As blood flows through your veins, it
presses against the walls of your blood vessels. Extra fluid in your body
increases the volume of fluid in your blood and makes your blood pressure
higher. Narrow or clogged blood vessels also raise blood pressure.
High blood pressure makes the heart
work harder and, over time, can damage blood vessels throughout the body. If the
blood vessels in the kidneys are damaged, they may stop doing their job of
removing wastes and extra fluid from the blood. The extra fluid may then raise
blood pressure even more.
diabetes, high blood pressure is the leading cause of kidney failure, commonly
called end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Patients with ESRD must either go on
dialysis or receive a new kidney through transplant. Every year, high blood
pressure causes more than 15,000 new cases of ESRD in the United States.
Most people with high blood pressure
do not have any symptoms. The only way to know if your blood pressure is high is
to have it measured by a health professional. The measurement consists of two
numbers that represent the pressure when your heart is beating and when it is
resting between beats. A person's blood pressure is considered high if it goes
over 140/90 millimeters of mercury.
African Americans are more likely than
whites to have high blood pressure and to develop kidney problems from it even
when blood pressure is only mildly elevated. In fact, African Americans aged 25
to 44 are 20 times more likely than their white counterparts to develop
hypertension-related kidney failure. The National Institute of Diabetes and
Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH),
is sponsoring a study to find effective ways to prevent hypertension-related
ESRD in African Americans.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, also part of NIH, has found that four
steps can help control blood pressure:
- Control your weight.
- Limit your sodium intake.
- Get plenty of exercise.
- Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol.
Many people need medication
to control high blood pressure. A group of medications called ACE inhibitors
lower blood pressure and have an added protective effect on the kidney in
diabetic patients. If you have high blood pressure, see your doctor regularly.