Home > NewsStaff News > High Blood Pressure & Your Kidneys

September 2015 | News, Staff News

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is the second leading cause for dialysis in Canada. Hypertension is often called the “silent killer” because there are usually no symptoms. It is a major cause of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

What do you need to know?

Arteries carry the blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Blood pressure is the
force of the blood in the arteries.

Blood pressure readings are given as two numbers:

  • The top number is the pressure right after your heart beats (systolic)
  • The bottom number is the pressure between heart beats (diastolic)

For example, with a blood pressure of 130/80 mm Hg, the systolic blood pressure is 130 and the diastolic is 80.

Who is at risk?

  • Family history of heart disease
  • Overweight
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Diabetes
  • High salt diet
  • Aging
  • Kidney disease
  • Stress
  • Cigarette Smoking
  • Too much alcohol

How is hypertension diagnosed?

  • Two or more high blood pressure reading over a certain period of time
  • 24-hour blood pressure monitor

How are the kidneys affected?

  • Over time high blood pressure can damage the lining of the blood vessels causing less blood flow to the filters and blood vessels of the kidney
  • Reduced blood flow also causes damage to other parts of the body such as the heart,eyes and brain

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

  • No symptoms
  • Headaches
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision

How is hypertension treated?

  • Follow a low salt diet
  • Healthy eating to maintain a healthy body weight
  • Regular physical activity
  • Quit smoking: smoking reduces the kidney function faster
  • Limit alcohol use
  • Medications


  • Medications do not cure hypertension, but only keep your blood pressure under control
  • Never stop taking your medications without first talking to your doctor
  • Never skip a dose, even if you’re feeling better
  • Always speak with your doctor if you have medication side-effects that bother you

Here our some Heart Health Guidelines from our kidney dietitians.

Kidney Foundation of Canada

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