Chronic Kidney Disease And Hypertension.  Following The Blood Flow.

Did You Know?
26 million Americans have chronic kidney disease
Reduced kidney function raises the risk of heart failure by 62%

The direct line from chronic kidney disease to heart related illness is indisputable.  Hypertension is very often the pathway between them.  We already know about the tremendous damage done to coronary arteries by hypertension.

That same affliction also works over the much smaller blood vessels found in our two kidneys.  These very small carriers of essential blood flow do an amazing job.  They are loaded up with blood from the renal arteries.  The tiny vessels act as a sort of filtering system for the gallon plus level of blood flowing throughout our bodies at any given time.

The Job Of Our Kidneys

These twin organs located in the middle of our backs do yeoman type work in their role as part of an intricate self defense system. 

* As mentioned above, they  filter out waste in the form of urine.

* Release a form of Vitamin D called Calcitrol which helps protect bone health

* Adds another hormone, Retin which assists in proper blood pressure regulation

* And adds Erythropoietin which directs bone marrow to crank out more red blood cells

Symptoms Of Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease leads to a steady loss of organ function throughout the years.  The process has been broken down into five stages, with stage 5 resulting in end stage renal failure.  At this point, dialysis is required to mechanically do the job of our own kidneys.  The other option would be a transplant.  Just below is a pretty good chart to show those stages.

Symptoms usually do not appear in victims until significant damage has already been done.  Some of them could include:

* Bone pain

* Excessive thirst

* Sleeping disorders such as insomnia or restless leg syndrome

* Easy bruising or bleeding

* Appetite loss

* Nausea

* A sense of constant fatigue

* Difficulty with critical thinking or problem solving

* Swelling in the hands and feet

The risk factors will remind you of some other pages already posted at  That would make sense in support of our first paragraph that mentioned the link between several conditions.  You'll read about yet another one later in this page. 

Some Causes Of  Chronic Kidney Disease

* High cholesterol

* High blood pressure

* Obesity

* Smoking

* Advanced age

* Diabetes

* Anemia is both a result of kidney diesase and a tell tale sign that you may be suffering from the progression of kidney damage.  You body isn't producing enough red blood cells.  Remember how fatigue is listed in those symptoms?

Kidney Disease And Diabetes

Do you remember at the top of the page how we went over those very small blood vessels that filter our blood?  Think of diabetes pumping a sugary goo over those very small filters.  You can imagine how the filters would plug up.  When this happens, the body cannot effectively remove dangerous waste. 

But it gets worse with diabetes.  Your kidneys have the ability to sense when blood flow is restricted.  When this happens it raises the blood pressure level which of course affects your heart. 

And the diabetes bad news continues.  The kidneys are also responsible for regulating the important balance between fluid and sodium.  When the kidneys fail, that balance is thrown off and fluid flows back into your blood vessels.  This makes the kidneys work much harder and weakens them much faster.

This increases the work required from your heart.  Yet another example of how heart disease is far too often linked to another serious condition.  Chronic kidney disease also  leads to arteriosclerosis and irregular heart beats.

Chronic Kidney Disease Treatment

Dr. Chauncey Crandall, author of the new heart health classic, " Fix It", reports on a recent study from Johns Hopkins University.  Here is the short version of their findings.

* People who consume a high level of red meat, processed foods, sugary drinks and excess salt are much more likely to develop chronic kidney disease.  (Bad diet causing health damage?  What a concept!)

* Smoking increased the risk by 60%. 

* Those people classified as obese were twice as likely to develop kidney disease. 

Where have we heard about these three villains?  Are we seeing a trend?  And a clear cut solution?

At the top of the page I wrote that high blood pressure was a pathway from chronic kidney disease to heart disease.  So the way to block that pathway is available to all of us.  You can find specific pages under the cardiovascular system button in the left margin for all of these methods of lowering hypertension.

* Exercise for sixty minutes per day.  Walking is just fine for this purpose.  An hour out of your day.  So well worth the time.

* Lose weight.  Fewer inches, fuller life.  And longer too.

* Be sure to get enough sleep.  Lack of sleep is a double edged sword.  It causes hypertension and also increases it's level.

* Better food choices.  Think Mediterranean diet.

* Reduce stress.  High stress levels release too much adrenaline and cortisol which cranks up your blood pressure.

If you are too far along, you'll need to get some expert advice on nutrition.  Most likely you'll need to really reduce your protein intake as well as phosphorus.  Here is a link with some more specific advice on diet for advanced stages.

Chronic kidney disease is not an inevitable event of getting older.  Neither is heart disease nor stroke.  But they are all related.  They all work against the heart and the rest of the cardiovascular system.  Prevention of one increases the odds of preventing them all.  Such a deal.
Use the methods described here to defeat chronic kidney disease and the chances of heart disease diminish as well.

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Just below is a quote from "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff" by Richard Carlson.  The chapter title is "Open Your Heart To Compassion." 

"Every day we are given hundreds of opportunities to practice compassion in action.  We can learn to be less reactive and live with more patience.

We can smile when others are serious.  We can drive our cars more carefully, pick up litter on the streets, recycle, and reduce our consumption.

We can resolve conflicts rather than create them, and we can become less judgemental and more inclusive.  When someone is aggressive, we can teach them to be more peaceful.  Instead of waiting for an example, we can be the example.

The more compassion that enters your heart, the happier and more peaceful you will become.  By knowing that you are doing your part to create a better world-whatever form that takes-you will fill any void that exists in your life, and you will begin to find the peace you are looking for."

What's New?

Just below is an article from Peter Schiff about passing the buck from one administration to the next.

Owning The Bubble

Just below is a link to look up your congressional representatives.   Let them know you expect accountability.

Congressional Representative Look Up