Don’t let high blood pressure kill your kidneys

Updated: Mar. 5, 2020 at 10:12 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - We hear a lot about high blood pressure or hypertension and we know that's not good for the heart.

But did you know that high blood pressure can also quietly shut down your kidneys?

Dr. Meryem Tuncel is a nephrologist and hypertension specialist at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center. She says, “Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a very important risk factor for developing kidney failure in the future. When you look at end stage kidney disease, the number one cause is diabetes and the number two cause is hypertension. So it is very common.”

She says that kidney disease is difficult to spot early since the symptoms appear late in the disease process. At that point, someone may come into the emergency room unaware that their kidney disease has advanced so much that they are facing dialysis or transplant.

Dr. Tuncel says these are clues that the kidneys are struggling. "Swelling of the legs, itching, nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, metallic taste in their mouth. They can have a fluid collection in the lungs and be quite short of breath. They may have chest pain and also they may seize from advanced kidney disease.”

Her advice - know your blood pressure.

She says, “Everybody should check their blood pressure from time to time. There are machines available in drug stores and they can buy home monitors.”

In the video on this page, Dr. Tuncel demonstrates the proper way to use a blood pressure monitor at home to ensure that you are getting an accurate reading.

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