Hypertension, Diabetes and Kidney Disease

If you have high blood pressure or diabetes, you need to know that these conditions are the two top leading causes of  kidney disease. Kidney disease is the eighth leading cause of death in the US. And a scary fact is that two out if five people who end up on permanent kidney dialysis don’t even know that they have kidney disease until the week before their first dialysis treatment begins.

Kidney Early Detection Screenings

Fortunately, the National Kidney Foundation offers a free screening called Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP®) for people at risk. Those at risk include anyone who is 18 years and older and who has high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease in the family.

KEEP® ‘s purpose is to increase the awareness of kidney disease for those high risk individuals. KEEP provides free testing and educational information with the ultimate goal of preventing or delaying kidney disease and the complications that come with it.

There are three services that KEEP provides in its screenings:

  • comprehensive health risk appraisal
  • blood pressure measurement
  • blood and urine testing

Participants in the KEEP screening also have the opportunity to talk with healthcare clinicians to discuss their health and review the results of their screening.

The free KEEP screenings are held at various locations each month in cities throughout the US. Find a KEEP screening near you if you are 18 and older and have hypertension, diabetes or both.

Kidney Disease Increasing

Because of their higher rates of high blood pressure and diabetes, African-Americans and Hispanics are at a higher risk for kidney failure.  African-Americans succumb to kidney disease more than three times at the rate of whites, Hispanics at double the rate of non-Hispanic whites.

Because of the alarming trend in obesity rates, kidney failure has nearly doubled. There are even increasing rates among young people who are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, once considered a disease of adults. Currently, the estimated number of people who have kidney disease is 26 million. Many, in fact, millions, don’t even know that they have it.

Learn more about the Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP®) in the Kidney Foundation video below:

High Blood Pressure and Your Kidneys

When you are dealing with high blood pressure, if it is not controlled with diet, medications and lifestyle changes, your kidneys are being damaged.  By making the heart work harder, high blood pressure can, over time, cause damage to the blood vessels throughout the body, including those in the kidneys.

When the kidney’s blood vessels are damaged, they don’t remove wastes and extra fluids as well. The extra fluid and waste toxins begin to build up. This build-up can increase your blood pressure even more. It ends up being a vicious cycle.

Diabetes and Kidney Disease

Diabetic kidney disease is a complication that results from uncontrolled diabetes.  When diabetes is uncontrolled and excess blood sugar is circulation, the excess blood sugar affect the walls of the blood vessels in the kidneys and impair the kidneys ability to filter protein. This leads to protein spilling out into the urine.

Over time, as the kidneys become more damaged, more protein is lost and more waste products accumulate in the body. This waste build-up can lead to advanced kidney failure. The symptoms include:

  • high blood pressure
  • swelling, especially around the eyes or ankles
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea, vomiting
  • headache
  • itchiness
  • fatigue and poor sleep
  • frequent need to urinate at night
  • difficulty concentrating
  • an all-around blah feeling
  • frequent bouts of the hiccups

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to kidney failure.

If you have hypertension or diabetes, avoid kidney disease by keeping your blood pressure below 130/80 and your blood sugar under good control.