Blood pressure and kidney disease are very closely related to each other. Untreated or undiagnosed high blood pressure can sometimes lead to kidney disease. At the same time, kidney disease can cause high blood pressure. This close connection between blood pressure and kidney disease makes close medical monitoring very important for those who are diagnosed with either condition. The use of prescription medications as well as lifestyle modification can help to control blood pressure, often delaying the progress of kidney disease.
The connection between blood pressure and kidney disease can be a bit complex. If high blood pressure, medically referred to as hypertension, is undiagnosed or untreated for any length of time, damage may occur to the small blood vessels in the kidneys. When this occurs, kidney function is slowly reduced, and the damage may eventually cause the kidneys to stop functioning well enough to support life. When the damage from blood pressure and kidney disease becomes this severe, dialysis or kidney transplantation may become necessary.
Just as high blood pressure can lead to kidney disease, kidney disease can cause blood pressure to become elevated. This connection can seem like a never-ending cycle. As kidney disease causes the kidney function to decline, wastes are not able to be properly filtered from the blood, causing an accumulation of fluid to build up in the blood vessels. This added fluid can raise the blood pressure levels even higher.
Patients who have both high blood pressure and kidney disease have an increased risk of developing complications and requiring life-saving medical procedures such as dialysis or transplant. For this reason, properly managing blood pressure is essential, even if kidney disease is not yet present. Many doctors will prescribe certain types of blood pressure medication for patients who have been diagnosed with kidney disease, even if the disease is in the early stages and hypertension has not developed. This preventative measure is thought to slow the progression of kidney disease for many people.
In addition to taking prescription medications in an effort to control blood pressure and kidney disease, exercise is an important treatment option. A moderate exercise program can strengthen the heart and naturally reduce blood pressure levels, although the patient's overall health should be considered when choosing an exercise regimen. Any questions or concerns about blood pressure and kidney disease should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.