Keeping your blood pressure down

WHY is blood pressure important?

Your heart pumps blood around your body through blood vessels called arteries. Blood pressure is the pressure that your blood exerts on the artery walls. If this pressure is too high it can damage the arteries, which in time leads to kidney damage. This can lead to kidney failure and the need for dialysis or a transplant. High blood pressure can also increase your chance of having a heart attack or stroke. Keeping your blood pressure down is the single most important factor in looking after your kidneys.

HOW can I keep my blood pressure down?

  • By healthy eating

  • By reducing the salt in your diet

  • By taking regular exercise

  • By not becoming overweight

  • By giving up smoking

  • By reducing your alcohol intake.

Most people with CKD will also need tablets to keep their blood pressure down. There are many types of medication available and your doctor will discuss with you which type may suit you best. It is likely that you will need to take these tablets for the rest of your life and you should definitely not stop taking them without talking to your kidney doctor or GP.

You may find it helpful to measure your own blood pressure. A number of blood pressure monitors are available and your local pharmacy can advise on these. You can also contact the organisations listed below for advice on monitors.

Target /goals

People with CKD should aim for a blood pressure of 130 /70 or below when measured at the clinic or by your GP.

Some people may be given a higher target depending on the nature of their CKD. The doctor will discuss this with you in clinic.

If you start to feel dizzy or faint and your blood pressure falls to 100 / 60 or below, your blood pressure medication may need to be reviewed, in this case please contact your GP.

Information and support

This booklet will tell you more about how to make changes in your lifestyle.

The following organisations have some useful information specifically about blood pressure:

The British Heart Foundation

Tel: 0300 330 3311

The Blood Pressure Association

Tel: 0845 241 0989

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