High Blood Pressure and Your Kidneys

How your kidneys work

Your kidneys are located on either side of your spine. Their main job is to keep water and electrolytes balanced in the body. They also remove waste and extra fluid from the body.

How does high blood pressure affect the kidneys?

Over time, uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause arteries in and around the kidneys to narrow, weaken or harden. When those blood vessels become damaged, the kidneys don’t receive the oxygen and nutrients they need to work well. High blood pressure can lead to scarring of kidney tissue. This can impair how kidneys are able to filter the blood and how they regulate fluid and electrolytes. This results in high blood pressure that is more difficult to control. 

Over time, high blood pressure harms blood vessels in the kidneys 

  • Damaged kidney arteries don't filter blood well. Delicate blood vessels within the kidney filter the blood. When the kidney becomes damaged from high blood pressure, these blood vessels don't receive needed oxygen and nutrients. Then the kidneys cannot filter blood. They also can’t regulate fluid, hormones, acids and salts in the body.   
  • Damaged kidneys fail to regulate blood pressure. Healthy kidneys respond to a hormone called aldosterone. This hormone plays an important role in regulating blood pressure throughout the body. But  kidney damage and uncontrolled high blood pressure can create a harmful cycle. Blood pressure can become more difficult to control in people with kidney damage, and uncontrolled high blood pressure can contribute to worsening kidney damage.

Protect your kidneys by managing your blood pressure

Kidney failure due to high blood pressure can take years to develop. You can limit your risk by managing your blood pressure.

Don’t let high blood pressure damage your kidneys: