Your health: Putting the brakes on high blood pressure

Did you know that high blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure, right behind diabetes? Experts estimate that one in five adults has high blood pressure, but as many as one-third of them don’t know it.

One of the challenges in managing high blood pressure is that many people experience no symptoms even when their pressure reaches dangerously high levels. The relationship between high blood pressure and kidney function is a close and complex one. Kidney disease can cause high blood pressure, and it can also be a result of high blood pressure.

As blood pumps through the body, it presses against the walls of the blood vessels. In cases of high blood pressure, extra fluid in the body and narrow or clogged veins put more pressure on blood vessels. This makes the heart work harder to move blood throughout the body, which can lead to more damage to blood vessels. If the blood vessels in the kidneys are damaged, kidney function can be reduced or destroyed, making blood pressure levels climb even higher. There are many ways to help keep your blood pressure in check, including:

  • Limiting the amount of salt in your diet
  • Drinki alcohol only in moderation
  • Keeping your weight within healthy limits
  • Exercising regularly
  • Managing stress effectively
  • If lifestyle changes alone are not enough, there are many types of medications
    available that will help you reach your goal of good blood pressure control.
    Talk to your doctor about the medication that is right for you. The Kidney Foundation
    of Canada has developed a free pamphlet on managing and understanding high blood
    pressure and kidney disease. For more information, visit