High Blood Pressure

The kidneys filter excess fluids and wastes from the blood; therefore, a healthy blood vessel system is crucial for kidney function. The nephrons, functional units of the kidney, serve as filters. However, high blood pressure can damage blood vessels and prevent the nephrons from receiving the necessary nutrients and oxygen. As a result, the kidneys can be permanently damaged if no treatment is sought.

Healthy kidneys secrete renin, an enzyme that controls blood pressure. On the other hand, a dysfunctional kidney may interfere with this mechanism, resulting in high blood pressure that is more difficult to regulate. In the United States, high blood pressure is the second most common cause of Chronic Kidney Disease. Both high blood pressure and kidney damage may go undetected in the early stages due to a lack of symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

High blood pressure can cause blood vessels to constrict, resulting in weakened vessels throughout the body, including in the kidneys, and reduced blood flow, thus impairing kidney function.
Lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation, reducing alcohol intake, and physical activity, are essential steps to managing high blood pressure.

If lifestyle changes are not enough to make a difference, the physician may prescribe medications and perform routine blood pressure checks.

It is relatively easy for high blood pressure to damage kidney function within a short time frame. Several years of high blood pressure can cause kidney damage.
Although it is not possible to reverse chronic kidney disease, as damage to the kidneys can’t be undone, steps can be taken to manage conditions, reduce symptoms, and control damage.
The primary care physician may refer the patient to a nephrologist. High blood pressure, if uncontrolled, could require the patient to undergo renal replacement therapies, such as dialysis or transplantation.