Kidney Disease (Hypertension-Related) (cont.)
In this Article
- Introduction to high blood pressure (hypertension) and kidney disease
- What is high blood pressure?
- How does high blood pressure hurt the kidneys?
- What are the signs and symptoms of high blood pressure?
- What are the signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease? (CKD)?
- How can kidney damage from high blood pressure be prevented?
- How can high blood pressure be controlled?
- Can medicines help control blood pressure?
- Who is at risk for kidney failure related to high blood pressure?
- High Blood Pressure and Kidney Disease At A Glance
- Hope Through Research
- Kidney Disease FAQs
- Find a local Nephrologist in your town
What are the signs and symptoms of high blood pressure?
Most people with high blood pressure have no symptoms. The only way to know whether a person's blood pressure is high is to have a health professional measure it with a blood pressure cuff. The result is expressed as two numbers. The top number, called the systolic pressure, represents the pressure when the heart is beating. The bottom number, called the diastolic pressure, shows the pressure when the heart is resting between beats. A person's blood pressure is considered normal if it stays at or below 120/80, which is commonly stated as "120 over 80." People with a systolic blood pressure of 120 to 139 or a diastolic blood pressure of 80 to 89 are considered prehypertensive and should adopt lifestyle changes to lower their blood pressure and prevent heart and blood vessel diseases. A person whose systolic blood pressure is consistently 140 or higher or whose diastolic pressure is 90 or higher is considered to have high blood pressure and should talk with a doctor about the best ways to lower it.
What are the signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease (CKD)?
Early kidney disease is a silent problem, like high blood pressure, and does not have any symptoms. People may have CKD but not know it because they do not feel sick. A person's glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is a measure of how well the kidneys are filtering wastes from the blood. GFR is estimated from a routine measurement of creatinine in the blood. The result is called the estimated GFR (eGFR).
Creatinine is a waste product formed by the normal breakdown of muscle cells. Healthy kidneys take creatinine out of the blood and put it into the urine to leave the body. When the kidneys are not working well, creatinine builds up in the blood.
An eGFR with a value below 60 milliliters per minute (mL/min) suggests some kidney damage has occurred. The score means that a person's kidneys are not working at full strength.
Another sign of CKD is proteinuria, or protein in the urine. Healthy kidneys take wastes out of the blood but leave protein. Impaired kidneys may fail to separate a blood protein called albumin from the wastes. At first, only small amounts of albumin may leak into the urine, a condition known as microalbuminuria, a sign of failing kidney function. As kidney function worsens, the amount of albumin and other proteins in the urine increases, and the condition is called proteinuria. CKD is present when more than 30 milligrams of albumin per gram of creatinine is excreted in urine, with or without decreased eGFR.
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