High Blood Pressure and Kidney Function

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a condition that sometimes causes kidney damage. Some forms of hypertension affect blood vessels near your kidneys, which increases your risk of serious complications.

Our kidney physicians (nephrologists) deliver personalized treatments that control hypertension and help many people avoid additional health problems. These capabilities are one of the reasons other doctors refer complex cases to us.

How is kidney function related to blood pressure?

Hypertension increases the force of blood as it flows through your blood vessels. Over time, this extra force may stretch and weaken blood vessels. Scar tissue often forms as your body tries to repair the damage.

When scar tissue forms in the blood vessels near your kidneys, it can disrupt blood flow. And without proper blood flow, your kidneys do not work the way they should. The most serious complication of high blood pressure is kidney failure, which is life-threatening.

High blood pressure and kidney care at AHN: Why choose us?

Kidney problems from hypertension often happen when blood pressure treatments are not successful. At Allegheny Health Network (AHN), fellowship-trained nephrologists care for you. Fellowship training involves advanced education and practice beyond what’s taught in medical school. Their high level of training allows us to consistently stop kidney damage and gives you excellent chances for good results.

Other highlights of our program include:

  • Highly skilled doctors: Our team includes nephrologists with hypertension specialist certification from the American Heart Association. This certification means we follow the latest care practices to successfully treat difficult-to-control hypertension. We are one of the few programs in western Pennsylvania with this distinction.
  • Coordinated care: If the DASH diet and medications fail to lower your blood pressure, you may experience kidney damage. Our nephrologists coordinate the next steps in your care. We explain all of your options, which for some people includes home dialysis.
  • Personalized care: We take time to explain how hypertension may affect your body and answer any questions you may have. Many people lower their blood pressure with the help of a special diet (the DASH diet). We give you tips for sticking with it, so you stay healthy in the long run.

Dietary approaches to hypertension: The DASH diet

We help many people prevent kidney damage with the DASH diet. This diet lowers your risk for hypertension complications by limiting salt in the foods you eat. In most cases, you consume no more than 1 teaspoon (2,300 milligrams) per day.

When you are on the DASH diet, you can expect to eat plenty of:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains, including wheat bread and brown rice
  • Lean proteins, such as chicken and fish

Other high blood pressure treatments we offer

Your personalized care plan may include additional treatments, such as:

  • Medications: We may prescribe beta-blockers, which are medications that lower high blood pressure. You may also receive a prescription for medications that reduce strain on your kidneys by removing fluid from your blood.
  • Lifestyle recommendations: Adopting healthy lifestyle habits can help you get the most out of treatment. We may recommend ways to reduce stress or become more physically active.

Contact us

Call (412) DOCTORS (412) 362-8677 or request an appointment to learn more about AHN nephrology services.