The best way to slow the progression of IgA Nephropathy from high blood pressure is to take steps to control it.
- Take your medicine every day as directed.
Most people with kidney disease are started on a drug to counteract the activation of the renin angiotensin system mentioned earlier. These drugs are either an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or an angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB). These are medicines that end in -pril or -sartan.
These medicines help lower blood pressure, as well as the amount of protein in the urine to slow kidney declines. Other medicines, including diuretics (water pills) and other types of blood pressure medications may be needed to get your blood pressure back to normal. Don’t skip these medications even if you feel OK. High blood pressure itself doesn’t have symptoms.
- Know your blood pressure numbers and monitor them regularly.
Trying to keep your blood pressure to a certain goal is important for your heart, blood vessels and kidneys. Your care team may want you to take your blood pressure at home. Be sure to keep track of your blood pressure readings so you can share them at each visit. See How to take your blood pressure at home.
- Adopt a healthy diet and keep an eye on how much salt (sodium) you consume.
Too much sodium can raise blood pressure, damage the kidneys and lead to excess fluid and swelling (edema) in the body. Carefully read food and beverage labels and choose items that are low in sodium. Remember that many processed, grab-and-go and prepared foods are high in sodium.
Try to eat healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains that are naturally low in sodium. It’s a good idea to talk with your doctor, nurse or a dietician about what you should eat or not eat to support your kidneys, but especially if you have advanced kidney disease.
- Be active.
Simply moving your body – whether it’s going for a walk, riding a bike, swimming, or taking an in-person or online fitness class – can help lower blood pressure and support your heart health overall. You’ll likely feel better and have more energy too.
- Lower stress and manage anger.
Feeling stressed or overwhelmed can take its toll on your mental wellbeing, relationships, sleep, eating habits, and ability to cope. Episodes of high stress and anxiety can also lead to temporary spikes in blood pressure. Find ways to destress by setting limits, knowing when to say ‘no’ and ask for help, and engaging in mindfulness activities that help you breathe easier through guided meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises as a start.
- Get to a healthy weight.
Being overweight can strain the heart and heighten blood pressure. Ask your care team what your ideal weight is based on your age and other factors. If you are overweight, losing 7-10% of your weight may help based on studies.
- Cut back on or limit alcohol. Too much alcohol can raise blood pressure.
- Stop smoking or using tobacco.
Smoking not only raises blood pressure, but it can make kidney disease worse too. Ask your doctor for advice and resources to quit. Calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). Is a good place to start.