Stress affects our kidneys too!
Dealing with every day stress has pushed stress and hypertension to the forefront of our fast paced lives. Despite efforts to maintain appropriate work-life balance, stress and hypertension still make their way into our life and our mental equilibrium gets imbalanced. This World Health Day, WHO has taken up the cause of creating awareness on hypertension and its related disorders.
We are well aware of how high blood pressure can negatively impact our mental equilibrium and lead to several medical conditions. However, very few people are aware of the adverse impact high BP can have on our kidneys or the fact that the condition can even prove to be fatal if not treated in time.
Renal damage caused by high blood pressure in medical parlance is known as ‘Hypertensive Nephropathy’, ‘Hypertensive Nephrosclerosis’ or simply hypertensive renal disease. A patient develops this medical condition when persistent high blood pressure leads to extra pressure on the kidneys. Hyaline, a translucent substance, accumulates in the small arteries inside the organ, thus thickening the walls of the arteries and ultimately leads to blockage-induced medical conditions. .
As this condition develops over a span of 5-10 years wherein persistent high blood pressure is exerted, ‘Hypertensive Nephropathy’ is hard to detect in its initial stages. However, there are still some symptoms that a high blood pressure patient can watch out for—frequent urination during the night or a foamy urine and oedema.
Since the problems stem from an elevated blood pressure and other lifestyle issues, they can lead to other medical complications. Other medical complications that may arise due to hypertension are:
High blood pressure
While hypertension can lead to kidney disorders, kidney diseases in turn can become a cause for elevated blood pressure.
Low calcium and high phosphorus levels in the body can serve as primary causes of bone diseases in patients suffering from Hypertensive Nephropathy.
Heart and blood related complications
Decreased red blood cells count and increased incidence of heart attacks, heart failures or cerebrovascular strokes are some of the common complications of Hypertensive Nephropathy.
In an advanced case, the condition may even lead to renal failure wherein patients may require dialysis or a kidney transplant to sustain normal kidney functions.
So, what’s the precaution that one can take against this condition? Regulating the blood pressure is definitely the first! If one suffers from a persistent high blood pressure, medication is one of the easier options, depending on the severity of the case.
A healthy stress release mechanism that allows one to find the right work-life balance, regular exercise and reduced intake of salt, are some small lifestyle changes that one can introduce in their daily life.
Furthermore, quitting smoking, regulating alcohol intake goes a long way in ensuring holistic wellness of the mind & body.
– The writer is Dr. Manoj Arora, Nephrologist at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh.