Blood Pressure & Kidney Disease

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Fragile vessels inside kidneys can lose function when damaged by hypertension.
Fragile vessels inside kidneys can lose function when damaged by hypertension.

Elevated blood pressure (hypertension) makes the heart work harder, which stresses blood vessels. The kidneys contain waste-filtering glomeruli (tiny blood vessels). When damaged, they lose function, resulting in kidney disease.

  1. Considerations

    • Hypertension occurs when blood pressure remains higher than 140 systolic and 90 diastolic (140/90). In the presence of kidney disease, blood pressure should be treated when above 130/80.

    Effects

    • Hypertension causes kidney disease, resulting in excess fluid building up in the blood and increased blood pressure. Once this cycle begins, kidneys deteriorate more rapidly.

    Significance

    • According to the National Institutes of Health, each year hypertension causes 25,000 new U.S. cases of kidney failure. African Americans have the greatest risk.

    Identification

    • Kidney damage can occur with few or no symptoms. As it progresses, it can cause high blood pressure, anemia, dark urine, dark skin, headaches, decreased appetite, incoherence, swelling, itching and dark stools.

    Prevention/Solution

    • Patients can benefit from hypertension medications that reduce fluid (ACE inhibitors) and protein in the urine (ARBs). These medications help protect the kidneys from further damage.

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References

  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of hobvias sudoneighm

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