The Connection Between Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, and Kidney Disease, continued

High blood pressure and kidney disease

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services more than 50 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure. That's 1 out of 4 people.

High blood pressure damages blood vessels throughout the body. It usually damages the small vessels, such as those in the eyes and the kidneys, first. Ironically, high blood pressure can lead to chronic kidney disease and kidney disease can lead to high blood pressure since the kidneys help regulate blood pressure and fluids in the body. Too much fluid causes higher blood pressure, which leads to a continuing cycle of more blood vessel damage.

The American Heart Association recommends that simply knowing your blood pressure will help maintain it. A desirable blood pressure is 120/80 or lower, while a high blood pressure reading is 140/90 or higher. Helpful hints to lowering blood pressure are: lose excess weight, avoid salty food, include lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains to your diet, and follow your doctor's instructions.

Being at risk for diabetes and high blood pressure

Kidney disease usually has no symptoms, so laboratory tests may be necessary for detection. People have a greater risk for diabetes and/or high blood pressure if they experience any of the following:

  • A family history of diabetes and/or high blood pressure
  • Excess body weight, especially around the waist
  • Age (older than 45 years)
  • Certain ethnic groups including African American, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans are at greater risk for high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle, including:
    • A salty diet
    • Too much alcohol consumption
    • An unhealthy diet
    • Lack of physical exercise
    • Smoking

Chronic kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease happens over time and causes permanent kidney damage. Many times, chronic kidney disease doesn't have any noticeable symptoms until right before kidneys fail. The following symptoms can be related to chronic kidney disease. Anyone with one or more of these symptoms should see a doctor immediately to be screened for kidney disease:

  • Swelling of body parts (including ankles, feet or face)
  • Burning or uncomfortable sensation during urination
  • Foamy, bloody or coffee-colored urine
  • Easy bruising or bleeding
  • Listlessness or chronic fatigue

Reprinted with permission by DaVita Inc. Learn more about kidney disease and diabetes at


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Last Modified Date: February 16, 2013

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by Brenda Bell
Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...
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