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High blood pressure (also called hypertension) may cause chronic kidney disease.  The reverse is also true: chronic kidney disease frequently causes high blood pressure.
High blood pressure damages the small blood vessels that deliver blood to the kidneys’ filters.  Long-standing, untreated high blood pressure, or very severe high blood pressure, will reduce the flow of the blood into the filters and may lead to chronic kidney disease.
The kidneys also produce a hormone that helps in the control of blood pressure.  When the kidneys are damaged or fail, this hormone may increase and cause high blood pressure.  In turn, this may lead to further kidney damage.  It is important to control high blood pressure to try to prevent long-term kidney damage. 

If you have diabetes as well as high blood pressure, you must be especially careful about good blood pressure control. For people with kidney disease, good blood pressure control is one of the most effective ways of slowing the progression of kidney disease.

Talk with your doctor or nurse about what your target blood pressure should be and when and how often you need to check it. Generally, you should keep your blood pressure below 130/80 mm Hg.

Controlling high blood pressure

One out of every five Canadian adults has high blood pressure. The incidence of this disease increases with age. It is important for people with high blood pressure to know their blood pressure goals, and to try to make sure that their blood pressure is lowered until is below the target level.  You should have your blood pressure measured at least once a year.

High blood pressure can be treated and controlled to reduce the chances of developing problems. If you have high blood pressure or wish to prevent it, you may have to make some changes in your lifestyle:
  • Eat healthy foods (low in fat and salt)
  • Quit smoking
  • Keep a healthy body weight
  • Get regular exercise
  • Cut down on alcohol
  • Learn to relax and take time to do the things you enjoy

You will need to take medication if your blood pressure is very high or if lifestyle changes do not lower your blood pressure to normal. In most cases, you will need to take medication for the rest of your life. There are many types of blood pressure medication and, since everyone's needs are different, your doctor will decide which medication is best for you.