Ask the Doctor
Questions about kidney disease? Risk factors? Signs and symptoms? Are you concerned about yourself, a friend or family member? Ask Dr. Spry.
Did you know that heart disease is a risk factor for kidney disease and that kidney disease is a risk factor for heart disease?
The heart and kidneys are very interconnected. While the heart constantly pumps blood throughout the body, the kidneys continuously filter this blood in order to remove waste products and excess fluid from the body. The filtration process of the kidneys is necessary to maintain a stable balance of body chemicals. The kidneys also produce hormones that affect the function of other organs. For example, hormones produced by the kidneys stimulate red blood cell production and promote bone health. Other hormones help to regulate blood pressure. Damaged kidneys may release too much of these hormones, which can lead to high blood pressure. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart attack, congestive heart failure and stroke.
Since the heart and kidneys work together, it probably isn't a surprise that many of the risk factors for chronic kidney disease (CKD) are the same as the risk factors for heart disease. Having hypertension and/or diabetes are risk factors for both CKD and heart disease. Another risk factor for heart disease is having high cholesterol. Cholesterol is a lipid, which is a fat-like substance found in your blood. Your body makes some cholesterol but also gets it from eating meats and other animal food products. When there is too much cholesterol in your body, the cholesterol can clog blood vessels and make them narrower, making it harder for the heart to pump the blood throughout the body. It's important to make sure you get tested for these conditions and that you seek treatment for abnormal values by following up with a physician.
For more information about cholesterol, CKD, and heart disease please click here: http://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/cholesterol.cfm