Hypertensive kidney disease is a medical term used for chronic kidney damage caused by high blood pressure. Undiagnosed or improperly treated high blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension, causes gradual damage to the small blood vessels located in the kidneys, leading to a slow decline in kidney function. Once kidney function is lost, it cannot be regained, making proper blood pressure management vitally important. Hypertensive kidney disease has the potential to cause so much damage to the kidneys that dialysis or transplant becomes necessary in order to preserve the life of the patient. Any questions or concerns about the proper management of hypertensive kidney disease on an individual basis should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.
Many patients may be unaware of having hypertensive kidney disease, especially if there are no noticeable physical symptoms. A high percentage of those with this type of kidney disease are diagnosed as a result of routine blood or urine tests or when being treated for a different medical condition. These tests are able to detect moderate to severe loss of kidney function.
Although there is no cure for hypertensive kidney disease, the condition can usually be successfully managed for a number of years with close medical monitoring. Controlling blood pressure levels is of great importance with this disease, so the patient should keep all scheduled doctor appointments. Specialized blood pressure medications known as ACE inhibitors are frequently prescribed, as these medications also work to preserve kidney function. In some cases, other medications may be used in addition to the ACE inhibitors.
As the kidney disease begins to progress, dietary changes often become necessary. A low-protein and low-sodium diet is generally recommended as soon as the disease is diagnosed. Potassium, magnesium, and phosphorous may need to be limited in later stages of the disease. Fluid restrictions may sometimes be recommended as well. A kidney specialist or renal dietitian can be very helpful at assisting the patient in developing a healthy diet plan based on individual needs.
Hypertensive kidney disease may progress to the point where the kidneys are no longer able to function well enough to support the life of the patient. In these situations, dialysis or kidney transplantation may become necessary. The patient's medical team can help determine the best treatment options as well as answer any questions the patient may have concerning side effects of the treatment methods used.