Hypertension and Kidney Disease

Hypertension (or high blood pressure) is a major health problem in India. 1 out of every 3 Indian (above the age of 18 years) has high BP. It is a major risk factor for development of stroke, heart disease and kidney disease.

How are kidneys and hypertension related?

A. Uncontrolled blood pressure lead to damage to smaller blood vessels in the entire body, including the kidneys. Over a period of time kidneys get irreversibly damaged, leading to what is known as Chronic Kidney Disease.

B. High blood pressure may itself be a consequence of long-term kidney damage. Kidneys play an important role in management of blood pressure. So, when kidneys are damaged, blood pressure often rises.

Signs and symptoms

Most patients with high BP do not have any symptoms. Hardly 10% have symptoms like headache. Likewise, most patients with Chronic Kidney Disease do not have any symptoms.


Therefore, everyone who has high blood pressure should get their kidney functions checked. This requires few simple tests like:
A. Level of creatinine in blood
B. Urine tests to detect protein
C. Ultrasound to look at the kidneys


A. Lifestyle measures
Lifestyle management is one of the pillars for management of Hypertension and kidney disease. This includes:
Low salt intake
Regular exercise
Quit smoking

B. Control BP
While lifestyle measures are important, medications are required to control blood pressure. Medicines may differ for every patient and often require monitoring and revisions based on clinical condition.
It is important to continue the medications even if you are feeling well. High BP is a silent killer, it continues to damage heart, kidneys and brain even in the absence of any symptoms. So do not stop medications unless advised by your physician.

C. Control blood sugar
Patients with high BP and diabetes are at a higher risk of developing kidney disease. It is important to keep a watch on blood sugar levels if you have a family history of diabetes and you have diabetes.