Lower blood pressure for higher kidney health

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Kidney health is vital for being well

Why high blood pressure matters to kidney health

Each of your kidneys is about the size of a fist. The National Institutes of Health notes that kidneys typically filter around 120 to 150 quarts of blood to produce about 1 to 2 quarts of urine daily.*

Having many arteries, your kidneys are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of high blood pressure. High blood pressure can impair your kidneys’ ability to function, and can even cause them to fail.

Living a kidney-friendly lifestyle

Have high blood pressure? Be sure to talk with your doctor about the steps below. Here are some life-style habits you can start to develop for a more kidney-friendly lifestyle:**

  • Eat healthy foods. Eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods. Lower your intake of potassium, and of saturated and total fat.
  • Cut salt. Limit your salt intake to 1,500 milligrams a day. Watch the salt content in processed foods, such as canned soups or frozen dinners. Become a label reader!
  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you're overweight, losing even 5 pounds can lower your blood pressure.
  • Increase physical activity. Get going! Try for at least 30 minutes of activity each day.
  • Limit alcohol. Alcohol can raise your blood pressure even when you're healthy. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation. That means 1 drink a day for women and people older than 65, and 2 per day for men.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Relax. Practice healthy coping skills, such as muscle relaxation and deep breathing. Try to get plenty of sleep.
  • Monitor. Track your blood pressure at home.

Sometimes, lifestyle changes alone aren't enough to control high blood pressure. Your doctor may prescribe medicine, too, to keep it at a safer level.

* https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/Anatomy/kidneys-how-they-work/Pages/anatomy.aspx

** http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-kidney-disease/manage/ptc-20208364