Central Peninsula Hospital | Pulse | Summer 2021 | 50th Anniversary Edition

Another reason to control your blood pressure High blood pressure is a serious threat to your kidneys Symptoms of kidney disease Like high blood pressure, kidney disease does not have symptoms—at least not in its early stages. You may notice swelling in your legs, feet or ankles. This is called edema, and it is caused by a buildup of extra fluid and salt that healthy kidneys would expel. In its later stages, kidney disease may cause: ● Loss of appetite. ● Nausea. ● Vomiting. ● Fatigue. ● Trouble concentrating. ● Problems sleeping. ● Increased or decreased urination. ● Generalized itching or numbness. ● Dry skin. Your kidneys play a vital role in filtering your blood and keeping your body functioning properly. So it’s important that your kidneys stay healthy. One way to do that is to make sure your blood pressure stays within a normal range. Blood pressure that is too high can cause kidney disease. Blood pressure is the force of your blood as it flows through your blood vessels. When blood pres- sure is too high, blood vessels stretch so the blood can flow through them more easily. This stretch- ing damages blood vessels throughout the body, including those in the kidneys. Kidneys with damaged blood vessels don’t remove wastes and extra fluid through your urine like they should. In turn, the extra fluid that accumulates in blood vessels may cause blood pressure to go even higher, creating a dangerous cycle. High blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure in the U.S. Do you have high blood pressure? If you have high blood pressure, talk to your health care provider about your risk for kidney disease. Your provider might want to do some tests of your urine and maybe a blood test to determine early signs of kidney damage. The best way to avoid or slow progression of kidney disease is to lower your blood pressure. You can do that with medications and also changes in your lifestyle. Lifestyle changes that can help include: ● Following a healthy eating plan that includes reducing sodium (salt). ● Getting regular physical activity. Ask your provider what kind and how much activ- ity is safe for you. ● Losing weight if you’re overweight. A loss of 7% to 10% of your body weight can help. ● Quitting smoking if you light up. Smok- ing damages blood vessels. ● Reducing stress. Exercise can help with this. Sources: American Heart Association; National Institutes of Health PULSE Summer 2021 7