High blood pressure makes your heart work harder than normal as it pumps blood around your body. This disease can damage blood vessels anywhere in the body, but the blood vessels in the kidneys [Healthopedia link] are very important. If blood vessels are damaged, the kidneys may stop doing their job. The kidneys’ job is to remove waste and extra water from the blood—or to clean the blood. If the kidneys are not working, extra water in your blood can cause your blood pressure to become very high.
Most people with high blood pressure have no symptoms! The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to get screened. Screening for high blood pressure is fast, simple, and painless. You just sit in a chair while a blood pressure cuff on your arm fills with air, gets tighter, then looser so it can sense how hard your heart is working. You can be screened at the doctor’s office, some pharmacies, or at some health fairs and community events. People who find they have high blood pressure should visit a healthcare professional and try to lower it through healthy lifestyle changes and possibly medication, too. These things can keep kidney damage from happening.
High blood pressure is a major cause of kidney failure. Kidney failure is when you need a kidney transplant or when you must get dialysis frequently to do the job that healthy kidneys would normally do. Dialysis can be very expensive and take a lot of time out of your life because, depending on the type, it must be done many times per week at home, a hospital, or special dialysis center. Dialysis also has many side effects. One common side effect is infection because dialysis requires tubes to be placed in the body using needles or surgery. Healthy kidneys do the job better than dialysis machines. Dialysis has many other side effects so it is worth avoiding by keeping your kidneys healthy.
Keeping track of your blood pressure is a great health habit!
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