Ask the Doctor with Dr. Leslie Spry, MD, FACP
Answers to Your Health Questions
Q. How are the kidneys impacted when you follow a high protein diet (including a high protein, low carbohydrate diet)?
A. High protein diets make the kidneys work harder, filtering above the normal level, called "hyperfiltration". The increase in the filtration of the kidneys is linked to the development of chronic kidney disease. Additionally, research has shown that high protein diets can change the chemical makeup of the urine and can make it more likely that someone will form kidney stones. Obesity also increases the likelihood of forming kidney stones, so some of this data may have been influenced by the rising incidence of obesity.
Q. How can pre-hypertension damage the kidneys?
A. Pre-hypertension, or "mild high blood pressure" can damage the kidneys before hypertension (high blood pressure) has progressed enough to be diagnosed. As blood pressure begins to rise, scarring and blood vessel changes can affect the kidneys. These changes inside the kidneys can be detected even before the diagnosis of hypertension can be made. It's important to take pre-hypertension seriously in order to protect your kidneys and prevent damage. The same is also true with diabetes. Pre-diabetes can damage the kidneys even before diabetes can be clinically diagnosed, making it important to take these conditions seriously and manage them to prevent further damage.
Send your questions to Dr. Spry! Email KEEPhealthy@kidney.org