High Blood Pressure and Kidney Disease

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How can blood pressure be controlled?

The NHLBI recommends five lifestyle changes that help control blood pressure. People with prehypertension or high blood pressure should

  • Weight: maintain their weight at a level close to normal
  • Diet: eat fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, and low-fat dairy foods.
  • Sodium: limit their daily salt, or sodium, intake to 2,000 milligrams. They should limit frozen foods and trips to fast food restaurants. They should read nutrition labels on packaged foods to learn how much sodium is in one serving. Keeping a sodium diary can help monitor sodium intake.
  • Exercise: get plenty of exercise-at least 30 minutes of moderate activity, such as walking, cycling, or swimming, most days of the week.
  • Alcohol: avoid consuming too much alcohol. Men should have no more than two drinks-two 12-ounce servings of beer or two 5-ounce servings of wine or two 1.5-ounce servings of hard liquor-a day. Women should have no more than a single serving a day because differences in the way foods are broken down in the body make women more sensitive to the effects of alcohol.

Can medicines help control blood pressure?

Many people need medicine to control high blood pressure. Several effective blood pressure medicines are available. The most common types of blood pressure medicines doctors prescribe are diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), beta blockers, and calcium channel blockers. Two of these medicines, the ACE inhibitors and ARBs, have an added protective effect on the kidneys. Studies have shown that ACE inhibitors and ARBs reduce proteinuria and slow the progression of kidney damage. Diuretics, also known as "water pills," help a person urinate and get rid of excess fluid in the body. A combination of two or more blood pressure medicines may be needed to keep blood pressure below 130/80.

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