Blood pressure, is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps. It is given as two numbers – one over the other (so 130 over 95).
- The top number (“systolic pressure”) = the pressure when your heart is pushing blood out
- The bottom number (“diastolic pressure”) = the pressure when your heart is resting in between beats and taking blood in
High blood pressure is also called hypertension. If untreated, high blood pressure not only makes your kidneys worse, it is also a leading cause of heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure.
When blood pressure is too high for too long it can damage the blood vessels, particularly those in the kidneys. This can make it harder for blood to flow efficiently through the kidney filters.
To do their job well, the kidneys have a specific amount of blood they want to be filtering – about a half cup every minute! As blood pressure goes up and less blood gets to the kidney filters, the kidneys basically say, “Hey, I’m not getting the blood I need,” and they try and improve blood flow through the filters by starting or activating what is called the renin angiotensin system. While this may improve the kidney filtering, the renin angiotensin system can raise the blood pressure.
Of course all of this is made worse if the kidneys aren’t working well to begin with. As a result, they cannot effectively remove salt and water from the body. Too much salt and water in the body further raises blood pressure, causes ankle swelling and puts extra strain on the heart over time.
If you have IgA Nephropathy, staying on top of and managing your blood pressure is an essential part of taking care of your kidneys and slowing further declines. Read on for tips to help lower your blood pressure.