Treating High Blood Pressure to Prevent Kidney Disease

High blood pressure or hypertension is the second leading cause of kidney failure. That’s why the Division of Nephrology at University Hospitals takes a proactive role in managing hypertension.

Over time, high blood pressure can lead to renal hypertension which can cause the arteries around the kidneys to narrow, weaken or harden and prevent them from delivering enough blood to the kidneys. When this occurs, the kidneys mistake the lack of blood flow for dehydration so they release hormones that tell the body to retain sodium and water. As a result, the blood vessels fill with additional fluid and blood pressure increases.

Kidney failure brought on by high blood pressure can take years to develop and hypertension symptoms– headache, confusion blurry or double vision, nosebleeds – aren’t always present so organ damage can occur slowly without being recognized.

The kidney specialists at UH are experts in diagnosing and treating kidney disease and renal hypertension. Usually, hypertension medications are used first to try to control the underlying high blood pressure.

However, when enzyme inhibitors and receptor blockers aren’t effective, there are other renal hypertension treatment options, including angioplasty (advancing a thin catheter with a balloon into the renal artery and inflating the balloon to widen the artery and improve blood flow); stenting (inserting a wire-mesh stent that can be expanded inside the renal artery); and surgery (where a surgeon bypasses the narrowed renal artery by using a healthy blood vessel right next to it).

If you or a loved one is suffering from high blood pressure, the kidney doctors at UH can help manage your condition and enhance your quality of life.