Your body, like a properly functioning machine, needs each part to run at its best. When one part of your body begins to fail, it can negatively impact other portions, even if they don’t seem directly connected. When one organ fails to work properly, over time, the disease of one organ can cause dysfunction in the other. This is especially true for the heart and kidneys. If your heart disease is not well managed, the effects could be disastrous on your kidneys.
To understand how the two are related, you must first understand how kidney disease and heart disease work on their own.
Kidney Disease and Your Body
Your kidneys, positioned on either side of the spine, must rid the body of toxins and wastes as well as regulate your body fluids. The kidneys release hormones into the blood and assist in creating red blood cells, keeping your blood pressure stable and help to strengthen your bones. Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys are damaged and can’t filter blood like they should.
The two main factors that cause kidney disease are high blood pressure and diabetes. Kidney doctors will explain that these two health challenges are also known to speed up the progression of chronic kidney disease in someone who already has it.
Often those with kidney disease don’t even know it until there is significant damage because many symptoms of chronic kidney disease are also symptoms of other illnesses. Symptoms include loss of appetite, fatigue and weakness, sleep problems, changes in urine output, decreased mental sharpness, muscle twitches and cramps, swelling of feet and ankles, persistent itching, chest pain, shortness of breath, high blood pressure that’s hard to control.
Heart Disease and Your Body
Heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, is the general term used to describe conditions that affect the heart and blood vessels. The Center for Disease Control says heart disease is the number one killer in the Unites States. The heart has an extraordinary job of pumping clean, nutrients-filled blood throughout your entire body. When one part of that system doesn’t work properly, you may be diagnosed with heart disease. There are different health challenges that can lead to that diagnosis:
• Heart failure: The heart can’t pump enough blood when coronaries are blocked, and could lead to complete heart failure.
• Heart attack: When the coronary artery, the vessel that brings blood and oxygen to one part of the heart, is blocked, a heart attack occurs.
• Coronary artery disease: This is the most common type of heart disease. It affects the arteries that act as the passageways to get blood to the heart. When those arteries become blocked, a heart attack may occur.
Understanding the Connection Between Kidney Disease and Heart Disease
Your kidney doctor will screen the functionality of your kidneys and check for signs of cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease is common in people with chronic kidney disease. Your kidney doctor may include taking certain medications to treat complications like anemia and high blood pressure, as part of your treatment plan. Your doctor can also give you a referral to a renal dietitian to create a kidney-friendly and heart-friendly diet.
With kidney disease, you may experience complications that can negatively affect your heart. Those diagnosed with anemia aren’t able to produce enough red blood cells, making the patient more susceptible to a heart attack. High blood pressure can lead to too much renin, again, making the patient more prone to a heart attack. High homocysteine levels in the blood can result in coronary artery disease or a heart attack.
It’s important to understand each of these diseases and know how you can prevent one illness from becoming an even bigger challenge.
Kidney Disease Physicians
Call us today if you would like to discuss the connection between kidney disease and heart disease. Our experienced staff and physicians can help guide you through what you need during this time.