Blood pressure and your Kidneys


Feeling the pressure?

To understand the role of your kidneys, in blood pressure, you must first know what blood pressure is. Blood pressure is the force that your heart uses to pump blood around your body. Blood pressure is measured in two parts systolic and diastolic. Systolic blood pressure is the pressure used when your heart beats to push blood out of the heart. Diastolic pressure is your heart at rest between beats. Blood pressure is measure in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and appears as a fraction which reads Systolic/Diastolic mmHg. Make sense so far? Good!

Now what about when you have high blood pressure, also known as, hypertension? This means that your heart is working harder to push blood out and has a harder time resting between beats. When the heart works harder, and blood pressure rises, the forces against your blood vessels walls also increases. This increased force causes blood vessels to constrict or stretch to compensate for the increased pressure. Once that blood gets to the kidneys, those blood vessels begin to change shape as well. The kidneys delicate network of blood vessels, is designed to remove wastes products within your blood stream and if the vessels are stretched or damaged it makes it hard to remove wastes from your body.

Imagine using a colander to strain spaghetti. The holes must be a perfect size in-order to keep from losing your noodles, right? Same with the kidneys. Changing the size of the vessels allows things, like waste products and fluid, to “slip through” that need to be filtered out. Extra fluid + extra waste = even more pressure against the vessels and a toxic environment for your cells.

As you can see managing your blood pressure or hypertensive condition is extremely important. It is the second leading cause of Kidney Failure in the United States. If you are struggling with high blood pressure, it may be time for a kidney check. You and your nephrology team will discuss proper treatments such as medication. To schedule your appointment please contact our office today.