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Treating High Blood Pressure When You Have Kidney Disease

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the leading causes of kidney disease. Many people who have high blood pressure and kidney disease need to take medication and make lifestyle changes to help lower their blood pressure, which may also help slow the progression of kidney disease.

Take prescribed medication

There are many types of medication that lower blood pressure. Two main groups of medication used to treat high blood pressure are:

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
Angiotensin II is a chemical in the body that narrows blood vessels by making the muscles around the blood vessels contract. It creates a chemical called angiotensin I. ACE inhibitors prevent angiotensin I from creating angiotensin II. This helps the muscles around the blood vessels relax and enlarges the blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure.

Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) 
ARBs block angiotensin II from causing the muscles around the blood vessels to contract and make the blood vessels smaller. ARBs protect the blood vessels from the effects of angiotensin II so that blood pressure stays in a safe range.

While these are the two main groups of medication used to treat high blood pressure, sometimes other medication is needed in combination with ACE inhibitors and ARBs to get blood pressure down to a healthy level. The following list shows commonly used drugs for treating high blood pressure.

Drug

Function

Diuretics

Help rid the body of excess water to lower blood pressure.

Potassium-sparing diuretics

Help prevent potassium loss in the body.

Beta-blockers

Help reduce the heart rate and the heart's output of blood so it doesn't have to work as hard.

AIIR antagonists

Can be used if ACE inhibitors cause side effects; requires blood tests to monitor side effects.

Alpha-blockers

Useful as a second or third drug to further reduce blood pressure.

Calcium channel blockers

Added to other therapy to further reduce blood pressure.

If your doctor prescribes you blood pressure medication, make sure it is taken as prescribed. To help manage your prescriptions consider a full-service pharmacy that specializes in kidney care, such as DaVita Rx*.

Make healthy lifestyle changes

In addition to taking medication that is prescribed by your physician, the following lifestyle changes may help control blood pressure and slow the progression of kidney disease:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Talk to your renal dietitian about a diet plan to help keep your kidneys and your blood pressure healthy.
  • Limit your daily sodium intake.
  • Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day with guidance from your physician for your condition.
  • Avoid or limit your alcohol consumption. Before consuming alcohol, consult with your dietitian or physician.
  • Limit caffeine intake.
  • Quit smoking.

To help you or your loved one understand other risks of kidney disease, take the DaVita.com Kidney Disease Risk Quiz today. 

*DaVita Rx, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of DaVita, Inc.  It operates a stand-alone retail pharmacy that specializes in treating patients with Kidney Disease.  Use of DaVita Rx pharmacy services is not a condition of treatment and patients always have a choice in pharmacy providers

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