Studies have shown that those with chronic kidney disease are at a higher risk of developing heart disease. In fact, heart disease is the leading cause of death for CKD patients. Most do not reach end-stage renal failure, but pass due to complications of CKD that affect the heart.
Complications of CKD that Can Increase your Risk of Heart Disease
The following are six conditions that may develop as a result of having chronic kidney disease. These medical issues are very serious and can create problems with your heart, including heart attack, congestive heart failure, or cardiovascular disease.
High Blood Pressure
It is extremely common for those with CKD to also experience high blood pressure, especially since high blood pressure is one of the primary causes of kidney disease in the first place. Prolonged high blood pressure can weaken the heart muscles, leading to heart attack or stroke.
Because of this, it’s important for CKD patients to always monitor their blood pressure. Eating a healthy diet low in sodium and exercising regularly can help to keep your blood pressure in check.
The second common cause of CKD is diabetes, so it’s not unusual to have the two conditions together. With diabetes, your blood sugar levels aren’t regulated properly. The elevated amount of sugar in the blood can start to weaken the blood vessels, which in turn can lead to heart disease and other complications.
Monitoring your blood sugar levels and following a diabetic diet is important to reduce your chances of developing heart disease.
Anemia is a common complication of chronic kidney disease, coming about when the kidneys aren’t able to produce enough erythropoietin (EPO). EPO is a hormone that is released into the blood and stimulates the production of red blood cells.
Without enough of this hormone, your body may lack in red blood cells, causing anemia. Anemia can then lead to heart problems for CKD patients, including irregular heartbeat, enlarging of the heart muscles, and heart failure – where the heart cannot pump enough blood for your body’s needs.
When the kidneys do not function properly, CKD patients may start to develop fluid retention. This is because the wastes and excess fluid are not being removed from the body, as they should.
This build up in the bloodstream can cause expansion of tissue and weakening of the heart muscles. Congestive heart failure is a common result of prolonged fluid retention.
Your kidneys work to control the balance of electrolytes in your body. Electrolytes include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, and phosphate. Because your kidneys cannot properly filter the unneeded electrolytes from the blood, an imbalance forms.
Each of these electrolytes can cause a different problem for the heart. For example, too much potassium can cause serious changes in your heartbeat. Too much calcium, called hypercalcemia can also cause problems with your heart rhythm, including palpitations and indications of cardiac arrhythmia.
When there is an excessive build up of plaque in your arteries, you are said to have atherosclerosis. This is caused by high levels of blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) in the body that weaken the blood vessels. This build up can lead to heart attack or coronary artery disease.
As you can see, there are many complications of chronic kidney disease that can increase your risk of developing heart disease and other heart-related conditions. It’s important that you focus on your health and the prevention of the problems to lead a healthy life.
Also published on Medium.