How High Blood Pressure Can Lead to Kidney Damage or Failure

Can HBP cause kidney failure?

Your kidneys and circulatory system depend on each other for good health. The kidneys help filter wastes and extra fluids from blood, using a lot of blood vessels. 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 is the second leading cause of kidney failure.

How your kidneys work

Your kidneys are located on either side of your back. Their main function is to maintain the balance of water and minerals in the body. They also act as a filter system that removes waste products and excess fluid from the body. 

Over time, high blood pressure harms renal blood vessels

The nephrons in the kidneys are supplied with a dense network of blood vessels, and high volumes of blood flow through them. 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.

  • Damaged kidney arteries don't 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 don't receive the essential oxygen and nutrients. Then 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 respond to a hormone called aldosterone which is produced in the adrenal glands, to help the body regulate blood pressure. Kidney damage and uncontrolled high blood pressure contribute to a negative spiral. As more arteries become blocked and stop functioning, the kidneys eventually fail.

Protect your kidneys by managing your blood pressure

Kidney failure due to high blood pressure is a cumulative process that can take years to develop. But, you can limit your risk by managing your blood pressure.

Don’t let high blood pressure damage your kidneys: