High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) May Cause Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Blood pressure is the force of the blood against the walls of blood vessels as the heart pumps blood around the body. If this pressure becomes too high, you are said to have high blood pressure, or hypertension. Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg.

What your blood pressure value tells you

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Over a period of time, high blood pressure (hypertension) can damage the small blood vessels in the kidneys as well. The damaged vessels cannot filter wastes from the blood as they should. Thus, hypertension may cause chronic kidney disease (CKD).

High blood pressure is not only a common cause but can also be a consequence of chronic kidney disease

How can you control high blood pressure?

High blood pressure can be treated effectively. Your doctor may prescribe blood pressure medication. Blood pressure medicines such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEi) and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are able to correct blood pressure effectively. Not only this but, it has been found that they provide greater protection of the kidneys than other medicines which lower blood pressure to similar levels.

Additionally, there are effective non-drug measures:

  • Lose weight (get down to ideal body weight) 
  • Exercise regularly (3 times/week, 30 min) 
  • Reduce alcohol intake 
  • Reduce dietary sodium 
  • Stop smoking

Please note, if you are suffering from chronic kidney disease, it is even more important to keep your blood pressure down (< 130/80 mmHg).

Classification of hypertension according to the guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension [1]

Are you at risk for high blood pressure?

Although anybody can develop high blood pressure, the importance of these risk factors must be emphasized:

  • Being overweight/obese 
  • No/not enough physical activity 
  • Too much sodium/salt in your diet 
  • Drinking too much alcohol 
  • Smoking 
  • Having diabetes or/and CKD
Sources:
Content last updated
03/07/2013
  1. Guidelines for the management of arterial hypertension. European Heart Journal 2007; 28: 1462–1536.
  2. Fauci A, Braunwald E, Kasper DL et al.: Harrison´s Principles of Internal Medicine, 17th Edition, 2008