Untreated high blood pressure often leads to cardiovascular problems — but did you know it also affects your kidney health? Hypertension is one of the leading contributors to kidney damage, and it only worsens as the disease progresses.
You can, however, control your high blood pressure with medications and simple lifestyle changes to prevent further health complications.
The team at Metro Renal Associates in Washington, DC, and Capitol Heights, Maryland, understands the importance of blood pressure control and kidney health. Leading our team are three experienced nephrologists who provide you with various treatments to lower your blood pressure and preserve your kidney health.
The facts about high blood pressure
High blood pressure is a chronic medical problem affecting many health aspects. Your blood pressure is the force of blood pumping through your body on your arterial walls.
It's normal for your blood pressure to change throughout the day. It's a different number when you wake up than during your afternoon workout.
However, your blood pressure should ideally be around 120/80 on average. If your blood pressure is consistently higher than 140/90, our team may diagnose you with high blood pressure.
Many factors play into high blood pressure, including genetics. Other causes of high blood pressure include insufficient exercise, obesity, and certain chronic medical conditions like diabetes and sleep apnea.
Complications of high blood pressure
High blood pressure is chronic, meaning it only continues to get worse without the proper treatment. When living with high blood pressure, you should get treatment and make changes to decrease the chances of complications.
Several issues arise when you have high blood pressure, all detrimental to your health. Some of the dangers related to this condition include the following:
The arteries are among the first to become damaged with high blood pressure. The force of blood against your arteries can lead to complications like an aneurysm and narrowed vessels.
Heart problems are another well-known complication of high blood pressure. You can have coronary artery disease and heart failure if your blood pressure remains high.
Your kidneys bear the brunt of elevated blood pressure. Chronically high blood pressure may cause permanent kidney damage, kidney failure, and scarring of your kidneys.
The kidneys are crucial in removing fluids and wastes from your body. When high blood pressure damages them, your kidneys can't effectively rid your body of waste.
Your brain is also affected by chronically elevated blood pressure. You can suffer a stroke which can be life-threatening in some cases. Other consequences to your brain include dementia and cognitive impairment.
Chronic high blood pressure also has a profound effect on your sexual health. Men with high blood pressure are more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than men with normal blood pressure.
Women are also affected by high blood pressure. It can lead to problems achieving an orgasm, chronic vaginal dryness, and decreased arousal due to insignificant blood flow to the vagina.
Can you reverse the damage?
Kidney damage from high blood pressure isn't typically reversible. The damage that high blood pressure causes leads to irreversible damage to the tiny vessels in your kidneys.
While treatment can help prevent further damage, existing damage from high blood pressure is often permanent. That's why controlling your blood pressure early on is vital to your long-term health.
The first step to controlling your blood pressure is to make a few critical lifestyle changes. Limit your alcohol intake and get regular physical activity to boost your health. If you smoke, try to quit as soon as possible.
Your diet also plays a role in managing your blood pressure. Limiting your salt intake and eating various fruits, vegetables, and lean meats are essential to your diet.
Stress also is a significant component in high blood pressure. Finding ways to manage your stress levels is essential to preventing long-term complications.
Our team may also prescribe medications that allow your blood pressure to decrease gradually. However, you still need to make lifestyle changes for a positive outcome.
Call one of our offices today to discuss treatments for high blood pressure, or message the team using our convenient online tool.