Blood pressure measures the force of blood against the walls of the blood vessels. Extra fluid in the body increases the amount of fluid in blood vessels and makes blood pressure higher. Narrow, stiff, or clogged blood vessels also raise blood pressure.
How does high blood pressure hurt the kidneys?
High blood pressure makes the heart work harder and, over time, can damage blood vessels throughout the body. If the blood vessels in the kidneys are damaged, they may stop removing wastes and extra fluid from the body. The extra fluid in the blood vessels may then raise blood pressure even more. It’s a dangerous cycle.
High blood pressure is one of the leading causes of kidney failure, also called end-stage renal disease (ESRD). People with kidney failure must either receive a kidney transplant or have regular blood-cleansing treatments called dialysis.
Kidney disease can lead to high blood pressure in many people. The opposite is also true: having high blood pressure increases the risk of developing kidney disease. High blood pressure can damage the kidneys. This reduces the kidneys’ ability to remove fluids and waste products from the blood, and can lead to kidney failure. When the kidneys fail, their function needs to be replaced, either through dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant.
Proper control of high blood pressure can prevent many of its complications. If high blood pressure is not well-controlled, it can increase the chance of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure and damage to the blood vessels of the legs leading to amputation.
If you have diabetes as well as high blood pressure, you must be especially careful about good blood pressure control. For people with kidney disease, good blood pressure control can slow down the decrease in kidney function.