The Cleveland Clinic

Hypertension-Related Kidney Disease

Hypertension is a major cause of kidney disease and kidney failure (end-stage renal disease). Hypertension can cause damage to the blood vessels and filters in the kidney, making removal of waste from the body difficult.

What Are the Symptoms of Kidney Disease?

  • Hypertension
  • Decrease in amount of urine or difficulty urinating
  • Edema (fluid retention), especially in the lower legs
  • A need to urinate more often, especially at night

How Is Kidney Disease Diagnosed?

As with hypertension, you may not realize that you have kidney disease. Certain laboratory tests can indicate whether your kidneys are eliminating waste products properly. These tests include serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN); too much of either can indicate kidney damage. Proteinuria, an excess of protein in the urine, is also a sign of kidney disease.

Who Is At Risk for Hypertension-Related Kidney Disease?

Hypertension-related kidney disease affects every group and race. However, certain groups are at higher risk, including:

  • African-Americans
  • Hispanic-Americans
  • American Indians
  • Natives of Alaska
  • People who have diabetes
  • People with a family history of hypertension and kidney disease

How Can I Prevent Kidney Disease?

To prevent hypertension-related kidney damage:

  • Try to keep your blood pressure below 130/80.
  • Make sure you get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis.
  • Eat a proper diet.
  • Take the medication your doctor prescribes.

How Is Kidney Disease Treated?

For patients who have hypertension and kidney disease, ACE inhibitor and angiotensin II receptor blocker drugs lower blood pressure and protect the kidneys from further damage.

Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic, Department of Plastic Surgery.
Edited by Cynthia Haines, MD, Sept. 2004.

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Last Editorial Review: 8/16/2006