Hypertension and Chronic Kidney Disease | See How Dangerous It Could Be
How healthy your kidneys are can affect your blood pressure, and vice versa. This means that if you have high blood pressure, then you are more likely to have kidney disease. Likewise, if you have kidney disease, this can sometimes cause high blood pressure.
The biggest health risk for people with kidney disease is not actually kidney failure. People with kidney disease are much more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. So if you have kidney disease you need to keep your heart and blood vessels healthy. Controlling your blood pressure is a very important way to do this.
The nephrons in the kidneys are supplied with a dense network of blood vessels, and high volumes of blood flow through them. Over time, uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause arteries around the kidneys to narrow, weaken or harden. These damaged arteries are not able to deliver enough blood to the kidney tissue.
Can Hypertension cause kidney failure?
Your kidneys and your circulatory system depend on each other for good health. The kidneys help filter wastes and extra fluids from blood, and they use a lot of blood vessels to do so. When the blood vessels become damaged, the nephrons that filter your blood don’t receive the oxygen and nutrients they need to function well. This is why high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) is the second leading cause of kidney failure. Over time, uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause arteries around the kidneys to narrow, weaken or harden. These damaged arteries are not able to deliver enough blood to the kidney tissue.
Causes of Renal Hypertension
Renal hypertension is caused by a narrowing in the arteries that deliver blood to the kidney. One or both kidneys’ arteries may be narrowed. This is a condition called renal artery stenosis.
When the kidneys receive low blood flow, they act as if the low flow is due to dehydration. So they respond by releasing hormones that stimulate the body to retain sodium and water. Blood vessels fill with additional fluid, and blood pressure goes up.
The narrowing in one or both renal arteries is most often caused by atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. This is the same process that leads to many heart attacks and strokes. A less common cause of the narrowing is fibromuscular dysplasia. This is a condition in which the structure of the renal arteries develops abnormally for unclear reasons.
Symptoms of Renal Hypertension
Renal hypertension usually causes no symptoms. The narrowing in the arteries can’t be felt. Unless it’s dangerously high, high blood pressure causes no symptoms, either. Symptoms of severely elevated blood pressure include:
- Blurry or double vision
- Bloody (pink-colored) urine
The vast majority of people with renal hypertension never experience these (or any) symptoms. High blood pressure is dangerous, partly because there are no symptoms, so organ damage can occur slowly without being recognized.
Renal hypertension can cause chronic kidney disease. This is a slow decline in kidney function. Until the condition is well advanced, chronic kidney disease also causes no symptoms.
Because there are usually no symptoms, a doctor may suspect renal hypertension when someone has uncontrolled high blood pressure despite multiple medications or has unexplained chronic kidney disease.