Damaged kidney arteries do not filter blood well. Kidneys have small, finger-like nephrons that filter your blood. Each nephron receives its blood supply through tiny hair-like capillaries, the smallest of all blood vessels.
When the arteries become damaged, the nephrons do not receive the essential oxygen and nutrients — and the kidneys lose their ability to filter blood and regulate the fluid, hormones, acids, and salts in the body.
Damaged kidneys fail to regulate blood pressure. Healthy kidneys produce a hormone called aldosterone to help the body regulate blood pressure. Kidney damage and uncontrolled high blood pressure each contribute to a negative spiral. As more arteries become blocked and stop functioning, the kidneys eventually fail.
The kidneys and the circulatory system depend on each other for good health. The kidneys help filter wastes and extra fluids from blood, and they use a lot of blood vessels to do so. When the blood vessels become damaged, the nephrons that filter your blood don’t receive the oxygen and nutrients they need to function well.
This is why high blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) is the second leading cause of kidney failure. The AHA reports that over time, uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause arteries around the kidneys to narrow, weaken or harden. These damaged arteries are not able to deliver enough blood to the kidney tissue.
Managing blood pressure levels
Maintaining an awareness of your numbers can alert you to any changes and help you detect patterns. Tracking your results over time will also reveal if the changes you’ve made are working. Download a printable blood pressure log (PDF) to get started on tracking your levels.
Make important lifestyle changes immediately
- Eat a well-balanced diet that’s low in salt
- Limit alcohol
- Enjoy regular physical activity
- Manage stress
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Quit smoking
- Take your medications properly
- Work together with your doctor
For more information, please visit the Heart.org.