Blood Pressure & Kidney Disease


The Connection Between Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and Kidney Disease
Reprinted with permission by DaVita Inc.

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of chronic kidney disease in the United States. Diabetes is the number one cause of kidney disease, while high blood pressure is the second leading cause. All of these diseases are commonly referred to as "silent killers" because they generally don't have physical symptoms. It's important to have routine visits with a physician to check blood pressure and blood sugar (glucose) levels and also ask for kidney function to be tested.

The connection between diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease

Kidney disease is directly linked to diabetes and high blood pressure. Diabetes is the number one cause of kidney disease, while high blood pressure is the second leading cause among Americans.

More than 26 million people are at risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD) and don't even know it. It's important to have a doctor regularly check blood pressure and blood sugar (glucose) levels. If diagnosed with diabetes or high blood pressure, steps can be taken to keep them under control and help maintain kidney health. Just being aware of the current state of your health can help prevent kidney failure or prolong kidney function. If kidney damage has occurred, a plan of action can be developed to maintain or improve health.

Kidney disease caused by diabetes or high blood pressure doesn't fix itself. It only gets worse over time. Ignoring kidney disease can lead to end stage renal disease or kidney failure, which is only treatable with dialysis or transplant.

Diabetes and kidney disease

Diabetes is a common health condition effecting 6% of the U.S. population. Diabetes occurs when the body's blood sugar level is higher than normal and not enough insulin is produced to keep it under control.

Kidneys have tiny filters that keep protein inside the body to maintain good health. High blood glucose damages the kidneys' filters. When kidneys aren't functioning properly, protein leaks into the urine. Unhealthy kidneys can't clean out the wastes and extra fluid. Wastes and fluid will build up in the blood instead of leaving the body through urine.

Treatments for diabetes are very effective and can help prevent CKD. Eating a healthy, diabetes-friendly diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, checking blood pressure regularly, keeping doctors' appointments and taking medications as prescribed are valuable tools for living with diabetes and maintaining kidney health.

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Last Modified Date: February 16, 2013

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