Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Managing high blood pressure to keep up with your kidney health

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Millions of individuals in India unknowingly suffer from hypertension, the medical term for high blood pressure (HBP). It contributes significantly to the development of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and is one of the main causes for CKD. It’s critical to detect and treat HBP early on in order to safeguard your kidneys and general health.

Recognizing the Connection Between CKD and HBP
The kidneys are the bean-shaped, fist-sized organs located behind your abdomen. They carry out vital tasks like controlling blood pressure, producing hormones, removing waste and extra fluid from the blood, and maintaining electrolyte balance. An extended duration of elevated blood pressure destroys the kidneys small blood vessels. Your kidneys small filtering units, called nephrons, receive oxygen and nourishment from these fragile blood vessels.

Chronically high blood pressure over time can:

l Diminish the blood flow: The kidneys are under stress from high blood pressure, which makes them work harder. Blood flow to the kidneys is restricted by narrowed blood arteries, which makes it more difficult for the kidneys to filter waste and maintain fluid balance. Toxin accumulation in the circulation may result from this, further harming the kidneys.

l Nephron damage: Damage to the kidneys’ delicate filtration units, or nephrons, can result from persistently high blood pressure. This may cause inflammation and scarring, gradually impairing kidney function. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) results from the kidneys’ inability to efficiently filter waste as nephrons gradually disappear.

The Importance of Managing
HBP for Kidney Health
Kidney protection from high blood pressure requires early detection and treatment. Good blood pressure control can:

1. Slow the progression of CKD: You can considerably delay the advancement of kidney disease that already exists by managing your blood pressure. By doing this, kidney function is maintained and problems like renal failure—which calls for dialysis or a kidney transplant—are avoided.

2. Lower cardiovascular risk: Heart rate (HBP) is a significant risk factor for stroke and heart disease. Controlling it can safeguard your cardiovascular health by lessening the load on your heart and arteries. Heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure can result from uncontrolled hypertension.

Controlling Your Blood Pressure
Here are some doable actions you may take to manage high hypertension and protect your kidneys:

1. Lifestyle changes: Adopt a healthy way of living that consists of

l Diet: It’s important to eat a balanced diet low in processed foods and salt. Make your choice of lean protein sources, fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Reducing salt consumption eases renal pressure and aids in the reduction of fluid retention. Dietary approaches to stop hypertension, or DASH, is a well-researched blood pressure-lowering method.

l Physical activity: On most days of the week, spend at least 30 minutes exercising on a regular basis. Choose activities that are somewhat intense, such as swimming, cycling, or brisk walking. Frequent exercise lowers blood pressure by encouraging weight loss, enhancing blood vessel health, and lowering stress levels.

l Weight management: Blood pressure regulation can be greatly enhanced by maintaining a healthy weight. A minute reduction in weight can make a huge difference.

l Handling stress: Prolonged stress has been linked to elevated blood pressure. To effectively manage stress, engage in relaxation practices such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.

2. Adherence to medication: Take your medication as prescribed by your doctor to lower your blood pressure. Never stop taking your prescription without talking to your doctor. Your doctor will decide which blood pressure medicine is best for you.

3. Frequent examinations: Make routine check-ups with your physician to monitor your blood pressure. Simple blood tests and urine examinations can be done to ensure that your kidneys are functioning properly. Prompt intervention is made possible by early detection of any alterations. In between doctor appointments, home blood pressure monitoring can be a useful tool for tracking your progress.

(The author, Dr. Vidyashankar P, Lead Consultant – Nephrology, Aster CMI Hospital.)

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