High blood pressure can cause kidney disease, but so can anti-hypertensive meds.

High blood pressure and kidney failure is a constant and almost epidemic problem in the world today. More and more people are being diagnosed with kidney disease each year and nearly one third (29.1 percent) of U.S. adults have hypertension.

A recent report by the University of Maryland has shown that people with high blood pressure are up to three times more likely to develop kidney stones. On the flip side, high blood pressure has been shown to be a leading cause of kidney failure ― according to statistics hypertension causes over 25,000 new cases of renal failure a year in the U.S. alone. According to research, the main link between kidney disease and hypertension is that the latter causes damage to the kidney blood vessels and its filtering mechanism.

Given the above, people with kidney disease are often treated for high blood pressure, increased cholesterol, and inflammation. While this may improve kidney health, unfortunately, the very drugs prescribed are also known to cause kidney problems. ACE inhibitors and ARBs are typically recommended for use in a range of patient populations, including those with hypertension, chronic kidney disease with proteinuria, and heart failure and left ventricular dysfunction. Both drugs and the conditions for which they’re used have been associated with acute kidney injury.

According to a recent 4-year study (2007- 2011), increased prescriptions of ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers, correlated with a 52 percent increase in admission rates for patients with acute kidney injury in the UK. At the same time, the ACE inhibitor and ARB prescription rate at the general practice level increased about 16 percent increase. The authors wrote that their findings were “consistent with other studies which have demonstrated an increasing incidence of acute kidney injury and evidence that acute kidney injury can result from treatment with ACE inhibitors and ARBs, usually in the presence of an intercurrent illness.”

Given that a substantial number of the cases of acute kidney injury were preventable, they stressed the need for more investigation of the topic to improve our understanding of the factors, “to better risk stratify patients receiving them, and to develop evidence-based interventions to prevent this serious complication.”

Both kidney problems and hypertension can be limited and sometimes reversed through lifestyle changes and by using natural treatments avoiding the long-term side effects or prescription medicines. RESPeRATE, for example, is the first natural, non-drug, medical device clinically proven to lower blood pressure.

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