Blood Pressure and Kidneys: How Do These Two Relate?
Did you know that having high blood pressure can be an indicator of a kidney-related disease? While this may not immediately mean you have kidney disease, it does affect how our kidneys work.
High blood pressure is, in fact, one of the leading causes of kidney failure. Therefore, hypertension or elevated blood pressure can be considered a red flag for kidney disease.
How Kidneys and Blood Vessels Work Together
In understanding how high blood pressure relates to kidney disease, it’s important to know how your kidneys and your blood vessels work together in your body.
In a nutshell, these two organs need each other to make sure that our bodies stay in good shape. The kidneys are responsible for eliminating wastes and unwanted fluids out of the body. On the other hand, our blood vessels are mainly responsible for transporting and distributing blood throughout the body.
Together, these two work hand in hand so that our kidneys continue to do their job well. Since our kidneys also filter extra fluids from blood, they will need blood vessels to make it happen.
If the blood pressure becomes elevated and uncontrolled, it will cause the arteries near the kidneys to narrow or harden–weakening them and leading to damage.
If this happens, your nephrons will not be able to receive the right amount of oxygen and nutrients needed to filter your blood. In turn, damaged kidneys also affect the blood vessels. If the nephrons fail to function properly, it affects the blood that passes by your kidneys.
Not only that, our kidneys produce aldosterone–a hormone that helps regulate the body’s blood pressure. Therefore, if the kidneys are damaged, the body loses its ability to control one’s blood pressure. And as it affects more arteries, the kidneys will eventually stop functioning.
Kidney Disease: Signs and Symptoms
Kidney disease doesn’t always have early indicators. In fact, it’s difficult to detect kidney damage until it already requires medical attention.
Some of the symptoms of kidney disease include the following:
- Worsening, elevated, or uncontrollable blood pressure.
- Unusual changes to the urine like the color and smell.
- Increased difficulty in urinating.
- Edema or swelling in the legs due to fluid retention.
- Increased need to urinate especially at night.
As mentioned, having high blood pressure doesn’t always indicate kidney disease. But being one of its leading causes, doctors may run tests on the kidneys.
These tests may include a urine test to check for the presence of blood or protein as well as a blood test that measures how much fluids the kidneys can filter in one minute.
Preventing Kidney Disease
Prevention is very much important, especially considering there is no cure to chronic kidney disease other than transplant. Therefore, it’s important to keep our health in check. In order to prevent kidney-related diseases from manifesting in the body, a lifestyle change is needed. Here are some of the habits you need to keep.
- Keep your blood pressure controlled and checked regularly.
- Always keep a healthy and well-balanced diet.
- Squeeze in moderate exercise like walking in your daily routine.
- Take your vitamins!
All in all, it’s important to know that kidney failure takes time to develop. Therefore, make sure to take preventive measures as early as you could in order to limit your risks as you age. By practicing these lifestyle changes, you’re definitely off to a great start!
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