Hypertension or High Blood Pressure is measured by two numbers. The top number (Systolic), which is also the higher of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (when the heart muscle contracts). The bottom number (Diastolic), which is also the lower of the two numbers, measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats (when the heart muscle is resting between beats and refilling with blood).
It is also among the leading causes of kidney failure. The constant pressure that the small blood vessels inside the kidneys endure when you have hypertension eventually leads to kidney damage. So it would be best if you get screened for hypertension especially if you’re 40 years old and above, has history of family members having it, and at high risk of developing high blood pressure. High Blood Pressure that isn’t specifically caused by another medical condition is called Essential hypertension.
Hypertension and Kidney Failure
This article best describes the close relation of hypertension and kidney failure. While having high blood pressure could eventually lead to kidney failure, having the latter could also be a factor in developing the latter. Meaning if you have malfunctioning kidneys, you’re most likely to have hypertension or uncontrolled high blood pressure.Hypertension caused by kidney disease or other for of illness is called Secondary Hypertension.
The kidneys releases a hormone called Renin which controls blood pressure. When your kidneys fail, Renin production is also altered causing blood pressure to spike. These spikes might get unnoticed early on but as time goes by and your kidney disease progresses, uncontrolled blood pressure could lead to serious complications like heart disease (failure), stroke, and even sudden death.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure often asymptomatic or produces no noticeable symptoms. When symptoms do occur, it is usually when blood pressure spikes suddenly and extremely enough to be considered a medical emergency. Some of these are:
- Dizzy Spells
- Severe Headaches
When these occur, it would be best to get immediate medical attention and care. But these rarely occur and as stated above, warrants medical emergency if they ever do.
Who is at risk?
As people gets older, they tend to develop High Blood Pressure. People with kidney disease is also at greater risk. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) also indicates that chances of getting high blood pressure are even greater for:
- Overweight people
- Men over 45 years old
- Women over 55 years old
- Those with a family history of high blood pressure
- Those who are borderline or prehypertensive (between 120/80 and 139/89)
People of certain ethnic backgrounds are also more likely to get high blood pressure. African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans and Hispanic Americans are more likely than Caucasian Americans to have high blood pressure and to develop chronic kidney disease because of it.
Treatment for Hypertension
There are various types of treatments employed to control and manage Hypertension. It ranges from a change in lifestyle to taking of medicines. It is best to consult with your doctor on what form of treatment suits you best depending on your current medical condition and assessment.
Below are some lifestyle changes you can employ to manage high blood pressure:
- cutting weight if you’re overweight or obese
- eating a healthy and well-balanced diet
- avoiding restaurant and fast foods as much as possible as they are most likely high in sodium and potassium
- quit smoking
- lowering sodium intake (e.g. avoiding processed food s like ham, salami and hotdogs)
- doing exercise regularly and keeping physically active
- avoiding stressful situations
These steps are often employed with borderline to moderate hypertensives. But if you are a severe hypertensive or has an uncontrolled high blood pressure, it is most likely that the necessity for medication is best employed.
Some of the medications that your doctor could prescribe for hypertension management are:
- Beta Blockers
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Angiotension II Receptor Blockers (ARBs)
- Calcium Channel Blockers
- Renin Inhibitors
Hypertension is treatable and manageable as long as you stick and adhere to your doctor’s orders and maintain disciplined way of living. If left untreated, it would cause you far more trouble than kidney disease, and most of the consequences could be life threatening. I cannot emphasize more the importance of having yourself checked and screened for high blood pressure, especially if you’re at high risk of developing it. Even more if you’re already suffering from chronic kidney failure.Be wise on the choices you make for it very well spell disaster on a single mistake. Click To Tweet