According to statistics from the US Department of Health, the number of kidney failure patients due to hypertension in the country is on a sharp rise, ranking second only to diabetes as the leading cause. In fact, when kidney failure occurs, the condition of hypertension can worsen and pose numerous dangerous complications. So why does hypertension lead to kidney failure, and what are the symptoms?
Explaining why hypertension leads to kidney failure
Blood pressure is the force of blood against the walls of the arteries as it is pumped from the heart to the organs in the body. However, for various reasons, the blood volume increases, creating higher pressure and resulting in elevated blood pressure. A patient is considered to have hypertension when the blood pressure reading is equal to or higher than 140/90 mmHg. So, why does hypertension lead to kidney failure?
Meanwhile, the kidneys play a vital role in filtering the blood and eliminating waste products from the body through urine. They also regulate blood volume, dissolve substances in the blood, and assist in maintaining the pH balance of extracellular fluids.
Elevated blood pressure can damage and destroy blood vessels in the body, causing the blood vessels surrounding the kidneys to become hardened and reducing the blood supply to the kidneys. When high blood pressure further damages the filtration system in the kidneys, the organs lose their ability to remove waste and excess fluid. The accumulation of fluid further increases blood pressure, leading to kidney failure. This is a general mechanism by which hypertension contributes to kidney failure.
Hypertension doesn’t immediately lead to kidney damage or failure but can progress over many years. However, hypertension often has no symptoms, even when it has resulted in kidney failure, and the symptoms can be very subtle. Therefore, early intervention, prevention of hypertension, and implementing control measures are crucial.
The relationship between kidney disease and hypertension
Kidney failure is a severe complication that hypertensive patients may encounter. Conversely, one of the most common issues in kidney patients is hypertension. This repeating cycle further exacerbates kidney problems, posing a threat to the patient’s life.
For patients with secondary hypertension caused by kidney disease, impaired kidney function hinders the removal of toxins, increasing the pressure on blood vessels and leading to elevated blood pressure. As blood pressure rises, the renal vasculature is compromised, and the kidneys cease to function.
Symptoms in Patients with Kidney Failure and Hypertension
Hypertension is often difficult to detect as it lacks clear symptoms, especially in mild cases. When blood pressure levels are high, patients commonly experience headaches, dizziness, occasional nausea, and a flushed face.
As for kidney failure, in the early stages, patients do not exhibit many symptoms. It is only when the disease progresses to an advanced stage that typical signs appear, such as:
- Edema in the feet, hands, or generalized swelling caused by fluid and salt retention.
- Abdominal distension, bloating, fluid accumulation resulting in abdominal pain, diarrhea, and difficulty digesting, leading to a sense of breathlessness.
- Decreased appetite, food aversion, unexplained weight loss, nausea, and vomiting.
- Discolored, dark, dry, and itchy skin.
- Increased blood pressure, chest pain, headaches, and a sense of breathlessness when the heart or lungs are affected.
- Fatigue, lack of concentration, sleep disturbances, and muscle fatigue.
- Decreased urine output, urinary retention, high levels of protein in urine, cloudy and foamy urine, or urine mixed with pus or blood.
Control Measures for Hypertension-Induced Kidney Failure
Treating hypertension in patients with kidney failure and managing blood pressure to prevent the risk of kidney failure is crucial. This is an important factor in safeguarding health and maintaining longevity for patients.
To prevent kidney failure caused by hypertension, patients should actively undergo regular check-ups to evaluate kidney function. Additionally, consider the following aspects in daily life:
- Use prescribed antihypertensive medications as directed by the doctor. Never self-adjust the dosage or discontinue/change medications without proper guidance.
- Follow a suitable diet and lifestyle for kidney failure, emphasizing the consumption of green vegetables, fruits, and limiting fat and sodium intake. Also, maintain proper control of daily protein intake.
- Manage body weight and aim for weight reduction if overweight or obese.
- Maintain a habit of regular exercise and engage in gentle physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day.
- Avoid the use of alcohol, tobacco, or any other stimulating substances.
By sharing this useful information, the article helps patients answer the question, “Why does hypertension cause kidney failure?” It’s important to emphasize that kidney failure is a dangerous complication for individuals with high blood pressure, and proactive prevention is necessary to protect their health and avoid unforeseen consequences.
John Alen was born in 1971 and is a doctor in the healthcare and psychology fields with many years of experience. He is currently working at easyhealthylive.com, a leading health and psychology blog. Having studied at Y1 National Medical University named after IM Sechenov, John Alen is using his knowledge and experience to help improve the physical and mental health of people in the United States.