High Blood Pressure and Kidney Disease

High blood pressure and kidney disease facts

*High blood pressure and kidney disease facts medically edited by: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

  • High blood pressure can damage kidneys and result in chronic kidney disease
  • High blood pressure is the excessive force of blood placed against blood vessel walls.
  • High blood pressure damages the vessels that, in turn, can't provide the waste and fluid exchanges in organs, especially the kidneys. Most individuals have no obvious signs or symptoms of high blood pressure: blood pressure is measured with a blood pressure cuff reading the diastolic (highest pressure at heartbeat) and systolic (lowest pressure as heart fills with blood).
  • Most normal diastolic and systolic pressures are 120/80, respectively, while 149/90 is considered by most to be high blood pressure (all pressures are in mm Hg units).
  • Early kidney disease also has no outward signs or symptoms, however, measures of GFR (glomerular filtration rate), creatinine (waste product) and protein in urine aid in the diagnosis of kidney damage.
  • Keeping blood pressure below 130/80 helps prevent kidney damage.
  • Lifestyle changes and medications can reduce and control high blood pressure.
  • Risk factors for kidney failure due to high blood pressure include people with diabetes, African-American race, obesity, high alcohol intake and a poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.
  • Ongoing clinical trials may improve ways to reduce kidney disease related to high blood pressure.

Introduction to high blood pressure and kidney disease

The kidneys play a key role in keeping a person's blood pressure in a healthy range, and blood pressure, in turn, can affect the health of the kidneys. High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can damage the kidneys and lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD).

What is high blood pressure?

Blood pressure measures the force of blood against the walls of the blood vessels. Extra fluid in the body increases the amount of fluid in blood vessels and makes blood pressure higher. Narrow, stiff, or clogged blood vessels also raise blood pressure.

People with high blood pressure should see their doctor regularly.

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