How High Blood Pressure Affects Your Kidneys

A close friend had high blood pressure for years but because he felt okay he did not seek treatment for it. He knew his blood pressure was high because of occasional visits to a clinic for some small issue or other but he just never followed up on seeking treatment for it. That is the reason high blood pressure is nicknamed “the silent killer”. You can have it for years and not even know it. If he had known how high blood pressure affects your kidneys, would he have followed his doctor’s advice and returned for follow up treatment? Yes, probably, especially if he had known then, that he would be suffering from chronic kidney failure now.

High blood pressure affects your kidneys, your heart and the arteries throughout your body possibly resulting in stroke, aneurysm or other unpleasant vascular diseases. The sad thing is that instead of years of damage my friend could have done some simple things to decrease his blood pressure. The most important five things that doctors recommend as a starting place for treating high blood pressure are:

1.) Loosing Weight

2.) Daily Walks

3.) Stop Smoking

4.) Cut down on the salt in your diet.

5.) Cut back on alcohol consumption

I once heard of a man who snorted “Oh blood pressure, what does that have to do with anything?” when he was told his blood pressure was awfully high. Well here is the straight talk about blood pressure. It is the force of your blood pushing against the inside of your arteries. This pressure is what moves the blood to where it is supposed to go. The heart, brain, kidneys and other organs need to have adequate amounts of blood delivered on a regular basis so if your blood pressure is to low you can have terrible health affects, but conversely, if blood pressure is too high the force of the blood against the walls of your arteries can cause serious damage. The pressure can break little arteries in the kidneys and cause ballooning of arteries in any area of the body but particularly the aorta. It can also rupture arteries in the brain and cause strokes.

The way that high blood pressure affects your kidneys is this damage done by the extra force against the little arteries that interface with the tiny filtering units in the kidney. These little filtering units are called nephrons. Nephrons are damaged by years of stress and over time their efficiency and function decrease. Chronic kidney disease results in increased protein being passed in your urine and increased creatinine building up in your blood. Chronic kidney disease as the result of high blood pressure is the top cause of kidney failure. When your kidneys fail you must go on dialysis or get a kidney transplant in order to survive. It is just a whole lot easier to control the blood pressure early than it is to deal with kidney failure.

High blood pressure is not a disease of old age, it affects people of all ages. The diseases we see in old age such as heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney failure, and abdominal aortic aneurysm are often a result of many years of out of control blood pressure.

Here are some things to remember about how blood pressure affects your kidneys:

� High blood pressure creates stress on delicate filtering mechanisms in the kidney which causes irreparable damage over
time.

� Treating and controlling high blood pressure lowers the risk of doing damage to the kidney and significantly reduces the risk of kidney failure.

� You should have your blood pressure checked at least once a year.

� Be sure you have your children and spouse checked as well.

âÂ?¢ If you have high blood pressure it is imperative to follow your doctor’s orders and take medicine as prescribed. Never stop taking blood pressure medication without your doctor’s approval as this can cause a rebound of your blood pressure to levels higher than before you began taking the medication which is a very serious event.

� Lower your salt intake to no more than 2500 mg. of sodium per day. Lower to less than 1000 mg if you have high blood pressure and congestive heart disease together.

� Increase your healthy life style habits such as walking, eating fresh fruits and veggies, and decreasing weight, alcohol and stress.

References: National Kidney Foundation

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