Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a serious medication condition for those with chronic kidney disease. It’s also one of the most common causes of CKD (right behind diabetes). According to the National Kidney Foundation, “More than half the people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) have high blood pressure.”
Whether your hypertension leads to your CKD or it’s merely a side effect, it is important that you learn more about the condition in order to control it.
What is high blood pressure anyway?
A healthy blood pressure is 120/80 or anything below. The top number is the systolic pressure, which signifies how hard the heart is beating to push blood through your blood vessels. The bottom number, the diastolic pressure, represents the pressure when your blood vessels are relaxing between beats.
If your top number gets above 139 or your bottom number above 90, you are said to have hypertension. A systolic pressure between 120-139 or a diastolic pressure between 80-89 is known as pre-hypertension.
Dangers of high blood pressure and CKD
High blood pressure is no joke even for healthy people. When your blood has to be pumped harder through your body, your blood vessels must stretch in order to allow the increased flow. Over time, the stretching weakens the blood vessels, including those in the kidneys.
When you have chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure can quicken the deterioration of your kidney function. Therefore, you will want to learn how to control your blood pressure in order to slow the damage being done to your kidneys.
How to Control your Blood Pressure with CKD
Thankfully, there are many ways you can help to keep your blood pressure under control, even if you have chronic kidney disease.
Monitor your blood pressure. Since high blood pressure often has no symptoms, you will want to keep a check on yours more often than your doctor visits. Purchase a quality blood pressure cuff and check it daily at home.
Record your readings in a notebook so you can later show your doctor any changes. If you notice an increase in either number, especially if it’s over 120/80, be sure to consult with your doctor.
Change your diet. The foods you consume can play a large role on your blood pressure. To help control your blood pressure, you will want to cut back on high-sodium foods. This will also help with kidney function. Cholesterol, saturated fats, and simple carbohydrates (chips, crackers, etc. that turn to sugar in the body) should also be limited in your diet.
Go for a daily walk. Walking is a great exercise for most people with chronic kidney disease. Light exercise helps improve blood circulation, which in turn lowers your blood pressure. Walk for 30 minutes at least four days a week to see the most benefits of being active.
Take medication. Sometimes, it’s difficult to control your blood pressure with the home treatments listed here. If that’s the case, you will likely be prescribed blood pressure medication. There are special medicines for those with CKD called ACE inhibitors that may work great at controlling your blood pressure as well as protecting your kidneys.
Also published on Medium.