Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure, is often referred to in medical circles as the “silent killer” because it can lead to heart disease and stroke – the number one and number three most common causes of death.

However, hypertension can also have a dramatically drastic impact on your kidneys, as well. High blood pressure can damage the blood vessels in your kidneys, reducing their ability to work properly or function at all. Damaged blood vessels can’t effectively do their job of removing wastes and other fluids from your bloodstream, which in turn can create a toxic environment in your body and well as increasing your blood pressure, which causes more damage.

High blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure in the U.S. (diabetes is number one). Unfortunately, people with hypertension usually do not show any symptoms. This is why it is critically important to visit your family doctor regularly to monitor your blood pressure and other vital factors that contribute to your overall good health.

It’s also important to get an annual physical to get blood and urine tests. The early stages of kidney disease generally don’t show any symptoms but can be detected by testing your body fluids for certain factors.

In between visits to your doctor, the most effective way to slow or prevent kidney disease caused by high blood pressure is to prevent hypertension from the start. You can do this through healthy eating, physical activity, maintaining your weight, not using tobacco products and managing your stress.

Your kidneys are small but have a huge impact on your overall health. Take good care of them by keeping your blood pressure in check.