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 every five people on permanent kidney dialysis don’t even know it’s kidney disease until just 7 days before their dialysis treatment has to begin.

Kidney Early Detection Screenings

Fortunately, the National Kidney Foundation offers a free screening called Kidney Early KEEP ® for people at risk. This stands for the Kidney Early Evaluation Program. Those who would qualify for this screening program include anyone who is 18 years or older and have diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney disease. People are also eligible as long as they are of age and there has been a history of these issues within their 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:

The first is a chance to perform risk appraisal. After that, some simple tests like blood pressure measurement can be performed. The third thing is urine and blood tests.

Participants in the KEEP screening also have the opportunity to talk with healthcare clinicians to discuss their health issues as well as review all of the results of their screenings.

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

Kidney Disease Increasing

African Americans and Hispanics tend to find themselves more likely to suffer from kidney failure. Their higher risk is due to the inherent higher risks they have of contracting diabetes or suffering from high blood pressure. African Americans succumb to kidney disease more often. The rate is more than 3x the rate of whites. Hispanics are twice as likely to deal with kidney failure than non Hispanic whites are.

As the populace has continued to show an increased propensity for obesity so too has the chance of kidney failure grown. In fact it’s nearly twice as large as it was before. More young adults and younger people are finding themselves diagnosed with type 2 diabetes as well. This can also be linked to the obesity epidemic. 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.