17-50% of patients with chronic kidney failure also suffer from heart failure. Studies show that the mortality rate of heart failure increases with worsening renal failure. You may be surprised to learn that your kidneys say a lot about your heart. The harmful effects of high blood pressure and diabetes on your heart can also lead to chronic kidney failure.

Your body is a complex system that relies on your overall health to work properly. When certain organs in your body aren’t functioning well, they can put a strain on the rest of your body. Some organs have a more direct effect on your heart than others. 

Keep reading to learn more about the link between your kidneys and heart, and what you can do to protect both.

The Link Between Your Kidneys and Heart

Recent studies show that the connection between your heart health and kidneys is more prevalent because of their closely interrelated processes. 50% of patients with stage 4 or 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD) also have cardiovascular disease (CVD). Plus approximately 40%-50% of all deaths in patients with stage 4 CVD are heart-related. Meaning, that if you have been diagnosed with CKD your heart is at serious risk.

It’s important to speak to your cardiologist if you’re having kidney problems and, at the same time, work with your nephrologist if you’re struggling with heart disease. 

The link between your kidneys and heart is, at its core, quite simple. If your kidneys are unwell, your heart has to work harder to pump blood to them. This puts stress on your heart. Over time this can lead to heart failure and disease. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and should not be taken lightly. 

The opposite is true too. Over time, high blood pressure causes damage to your blood vessels. If the small blood vessels in your kidneys are damaged, then your kidneys are unable to filter your blood efficiently. This results in kidney disease among other health problems. 

How Can You Help Your Heart and Kidneys?

If you suffer from chronic kidney disease, then you should also make your heart health a priority. You can do this by scheduling regular checkups with your cardiologist.

Luckily, early detection of heart disease and chronic kidney disease can allow you to treat them and prevent a heart attack or stroke. There are also some other steps you can take in your daily life to help your kidneys and heart.

Eat Healthy Foods

High blood pressure or hypertension is often caused by unhealthy life choices including a poor diet and being overweight. Eating foods that are high in cholesterol can lead to plaque forming along tiny tears in your artery walls. This narrows the insides of your arteries and makes it harder for your heart to pump oxygenated blood throughout your body.

Eating more fruits and vegetables provides your body with the nutrients it needs to function properly. Monitor your blood pressure regularly to ensure that you maintain a healthy range. You can work with your cardiologist to find the right plan for you.

Exercise Regularly

Another way to present or manage kidney disease and heart disease is by staying active. This not only helps you regulate your weight but also helps to control your blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes, regular exercise will help your body become more sensitive to insulin. This is a hormone that causes your cells to use blood sugar for energy.

Exercising also encourages better sleep, makes you feel happier, and lowers the LDL or “bad” cholesterol in your blood. Try to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity.

Quit Smoking and Avoid Alcohol

One of the best steps you can take toward better health is to quit smoking. Even if you’ve been smoking for a long time, your body begins to heal itself the moment you quit. You can reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, and lung disease even within 12 to 24 hours of quitting.

Reducing your alcohol intake is another step toward helping your heart and kidneys. Consuming too much alcohol can lead to high blood pressure and worsen kidney disease. High blood pressure is a common cause of kidney disease. Avoid having more than two drinks a day to reduce your chances of having high blood pressure. 

Visit Your Cardiologist Regularly

If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure or chronic kidney disease, then your heart could be at risk. The good news is the sooner you begin to monitor your heart health and treat any underlying issues, the more likely you can turn around serious threats to your heart’s health.

Many times, a heart condition is undetectable until a serious episode such as a heart attack or stroke occurs. Don’t wait to find out about your heart. Schedule your appointment here. 

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