How Does Kidney Disease Affect Your Body
Kidney disease can affect you in a number of different ways. These include:
Proteinuria or protein in the urine is frequently the earliest symptom of kidney disease. You will have read, in the previous section, how the kidney works and that the kidney has about a million filters. When the kidney is healthy it allows very little protein into the urine. If these filters become leaky, small amounts of protein will leak into the urine. This is frequently an early sign of kidney trouble long before the kidney function itself begins to deteriorate.
Doctors frequently test patients urine for the presence of blood or protein, to try to detect kidney disease early. There are many causes of protein in the urine, including diabetes and glomerulonephritis. Whilst your doctor will conduct a number of special blood tests, to try to determine the underlying cause, it may be necessary to undergo a kidney biopsy, to establish the exact cause of the protein.
Patients who have very large amounts of protein in the urine, , are described as having nephrotic syndrome. Patients with nephrotic syndrome frequently have swollen legs.
Haematuria or blood in the urine can either be present in amounts that you can see or in amounts that you cannot see in which it is only detected with urine testing. Blood in the urine may not appear red but more like strong tea coloured.
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Regulating Your Blood Pressure Over The Long Term
Over the long term, your kidneys are primarily responsible for blood pressure. In fact, many blood pressure lowering medications work by triggering the kidneys to release excess sodium and fluid. When working properly, this fluid regulation system keep blood pressure relatively constant over the years . When your blood pressure is high, hormones are released to signal increased urination, lowering blood volume and blood pressure . When blood volume and pressure is too low, hormones secreted from your brain tell your kidneys to retain sodium and water, increasing blood volume and blood pressure . Problems with this system can lead to high blood pressure, which increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.
How Does High Blood Pressure Cause Kidney Disease
Your kidneys are made of tiny blood vessels that help clean your blood. When you have high blood pressure, the blood flows through these blood vessels with a lot of force. This can harm these blood vessels and cause kidney disease. However, high blood pressure can also be a symptom of kidney disease. Kidneys help your body control your blood pressure. When high blood pressure damages your kidneys, they cannot control your blood pressure very well.
You will not be able to feel if high blood pressure has hurt your kidneys. The only way to know is to be tested. Learn more about the tests for kidney disease.
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Raa Inhibitors And High Blood Pressure
Several effective high blood pressure treatments have been developed as a direct result of our understanding of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.
- ACE inhibitors stop the conversion of angiotensin I to angiotensin II.
- Angiotensin receptor blockers prevent angiotensin II from binding to blood vessels and causing vasoconstriction.
- Water pills, or diuretics, help to get rid of fluid by telling the body excrete water and sodium through urination.
While we have a better understanding of how to manage chronic high blood pressure, the fine details of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system are still being discovered.
How Does Eating Diet And Nutrition Affect High Blood Pressure And Kidney Disease
Following a healthy eating plan can help lower your blood pressure. Reducing the amount of sodium in your diet is an important part of any healthy eating plan. Your health care professional may recommend the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension eating plan. DASH focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other foods that are healthy for your heart and lower in sodium, which often comes from salt. The DASH eating plan
- is low in fat and cholesterol
- features fat-free or low-fat milk and dairy products, fish, poultry, and nuts
- suggests less red meat, sweets, added sugars, and sugar-containing beverages
- is rich in nutrients, protein, and fiber
A registered dietitian can help tailor your diet to your kidney disease. If you have congestive heart failure or edema, a diet low in sodium intake can help reduce edema and lower blood pressure. Reducing saturated fat and cholesterol can help control high levels of lipids, or fats, in the blood.
People with advanced kidney disease should speak with their health care professional about their diet.
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Relation Of High Blood Pressure And Kidneys
Our kidneys and circulatory system depend on each other for a healthy body. Our kidneys help filter wastes, toxins, and extra fluids from our blood, and they use a bunch of blood vessels to do so.
When our blood vessels are damaged, the nephrons, which filters our blood, didnt receive any oxygen and nutrients they needed to function well. This damage is the main reason behind High Blood Pressure , which is the second leading cause of Kidney Failure.
Over time, uncontrolled High Blood Pressure can cause arteries around the kidneys to narrow down, weakened, or harden it. These damaged arteries will not able to deliver enough blood to the kidney tissues.
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How High Blood Pressure Can Damage Kidneys
High blood pressure the second leading cause of CKD is an increase in the force of blood as it flows through your blood vessels. Over time, that force can damage the tiny vessels in the nephrons, just as it can damage blood vessels throughout the body.
The vessels in the kidney are delicate, explains Dr. Leisman. Imagine two hoses: one is high pressure and one is low pressure. Both have water coming out, but the water coming from the high-pressure hose, over time, can lead to damage.
Leisman notes that treating high blood pressure is one of the cornerstones of preventing or slowing kidney damage. In fact, some of the most common drugs used to lower blood pressure are considered a standard treatment for CKD.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure
Blood pressure normally varies a lot, from minute to minute and even from one breath to the next. It is usually lower at night, and goes up with exercise and other forms of stress . It also varies around the body.
For most purposes, it is best to measure blood pressure in the upper arm, at heart level, with the person sitting comfortably, not talking, having rested for at least five minutes and avoided cigarettes and caffeine for at least 30 minutes. Measured like this, a normal adults blood pressure is around 120/80 mm Hg.
Blood pressure is often measured in a rush in outpatient clinics, without much time for rest, and often at a time of increased anxiety. Measurements taken like this shouldnt be used as the sole basis for deciding on treatment. Repeated measurements at home or ambulatory blood pressure measurements give a much better idea.
- Your blood pressure is considered to be high if your blood pressure is 140/90mmHg or above, and your average daytime ambulatory or home blood pressure is 135/85mmHg or above.
- The higher your resting blood pressure, the higher your risk of heart disease, stroke, and progressive kidney damage.
There is often no obvious cause for hypertension but some groups, for example people from minority ethnic groups are more prone to developing high blood pressure.
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Kidney Failure And Blood Pressure
As above discussed, the kidney has a more significant role in the regulation of blood volume and pressure. The RAAS process decides the blood pressure, and consequently, it sends back the filtered blood to the heart.
In all this process, if someone has any kidney problems symptoms, they may also get clues from blood pressure. Both High or low blood pressure will get linked to further kidney damages or series of kidney problems.
What Does The Lower Number Of Blood Pressure Mean
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What Procedures May Help Treat Renal Hypertension
Angioplasty with stenting is an invasive procedure that helps blood flow more freely through the artery to the kidney. It is an option for those who have:
- Severe narrowing of the renal artery.
- Blood pressure that cannot be controlled with medicines.
- Kidneys that are not working well and are rapidly becoming worse.
In an angioplasty, a healthcare provider inserts a catheter into a small puncture over an artery in the arm or groin. This catheter carries a tiny inflatable balloon with it to the blocked area. There, the balloon is inflated and deflated several times to flatten the plaque against the artery walls, widening the vessel. After the procedure, the balloon and catheter are removed from the body. Stenting is usually needed in addition to angioplasty.
With stenting, a tiny mesh tube, called a stent, is inserted by the catheter. Just like the balloon in an angioplasty, the stent is guided to the narrowed area of the renal artery and placed to provide support, keeping the artery open. The stent is left in place permanently.
How Do Kidneys Help Regulate Blood Pressure
The kidneys ensure that the make-up and volume of the fluids in the body is correct. They help control the chemical balance of the blood and regulate the bodys level of sodium, potassium and calcium. The kidneys remove waste products and excess water from the body and so help to regulate blood pressure.
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Diagnosis Of Kidney Disease
Early diagnosis and optimal management can often prevent kidney damage from becoming worse and reduce the risk of kidney failure.
Chronic kidney disease often has very few symptoms, or only general symptoms, such as tiredness, headaches and feeling sick. The doctor may begin by reviewing your medical history and performing a physical examination.
The diagnostic tests for kidney disease chosen by your doctor depend on factors including your symptoms, age, medical history, lifestyle and general health. Tests for kidney disease include:
- urine tests
How Does The Urinary System Work
Your kidneys work non-stop, with all of your blood passing through them every 5 minutes.
The urine that collects is a mix of waste and excess fluid. It is carried to your bladder to be stored. Muscles in the bladder wall stay relaxed, so it can expand as it fills. Other muscles work like a dam to keep urine in your bladder until you are ready to go to the toilet. Your brain controls your bladder, signalling it when to hold urine and when to empty. Urinary incontinence is when there is accidental or involuntary loss of urine from the bladder.
To urinate normally, all parts of your urinary tract must work together in proper order. When you are ready to go to the toilet, your bladder outlet muscles relax and your bladder wall muscles contract. Urine empties from your bladder through your urethra and exits your body.
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Where Are My Kidneys
The kidneys are small bean-shaped organs approximately 6 cm wide and 12 cm long and consist of two main layers an inner layer called the medulla and an outer layer called the cortex. Most people have two kidneys that are situated at the back of the abdomen on either side of the spine.
Graphic showing a section through the right kidney with the main structures labelled.
Signs That Something May Be Wrong With Your Kidneys
If your kidneys cant balance fluids or remove waste and toxins efficiently, you may experience these symptoms:
- Leg and ankle swelling
- Chest pain due to inflammation of the sac around the heart
Health issues can also occur if your mineral levels are too high or too low. Irregular heartbeats may be a problem if your potassium level rises, while calcium depletion can lead to broken bones.
Kidney damage may make it even harder to regulate your blood pressure. Blood pressure tends to increase when fluids build up and your kidneys struggle to regulate hormones that control pressure. If the damage is severe, your kidneys may eventually begin to fail.
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Converting To Angiotensin I
Our blood also contains proteins. Angiotensinogen is one of them. Angiotensinogen is a short protein produced in the liver and is inactive, and it gets circulated in the blood. When renin function on angiotensinogen, it converts it into another shorter protein called Angiotensin One or Angiotensin I.
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How Will I Know Whether I Have Kidney Damage
Kidney damage, like hypertension, can be unnoticeable and detected only through medical tests. Blood tests will show whether your kidneys are removing wastes efficiently. Your doctor should order tests to measure your serum creatinine. Having too much creatinine in your blood is a sign that you have kidney damage. The doctor should use the serum creatinine to estimate the main kidney function called glomerular filtration rate, or GFR. Another sign is proteinuria, or protein in your urine. Proteinuria has also been shown to be associated with heart disease and damaged blood vessels. .)
Eat Less Meat More Plants
A plant-based diet is an easy way to increase fiber and reduce the amount of sodium and unhealthy saturated and trans fat you take in from dairy foods and meat. Increase the number of fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, and whole grains youre eating. Instead of red meat, opt for healthier lean proteins like fish, poultry, or tofu.
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