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Kidney and heart problems go hand in hand

Dr. Sudeep Singh Sachdev
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Dr. Sudeep Singh Sachdev

When there is some kind of problem with the heart and blood vessels, you are suffering from some kind of heart ailment.

Over time, the blood vessels that bring blood to the heart and brain can become blocked from a build up of cells, fat and cholesterol. This results in reduction of the blood flow to the heart and brain which causes heart attacks and strokes.

People with kidney disease are much more prone to develop heart and blood vessel disease. This increased risk is related to kidney disease and other health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and certain lifestyle factors including being overweight and smoking.

It is very important for patients suffering from kidney disease to take steps for the prevention of heart and blood vessel problems. When we start developing changes towards improving our heart health, we are also helping our kidneys to stay healthy as well.

Here are some steps to keep kidney as well as heart healthy:

Get Tested: It turns out that heart disease is a risk factor for kidney disease and kidney disease is a known risk factor for heart disease. Hence, if you know you have one, you should have yourself tested for the other.

Eat a balanced, healthy diet: Reduce sodium in your diet. Reduce foods that are high in saturated fats and cholesterol like eggs, whole milk, cheese and fried foods. Eat more foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids like cold water fish, flaxseed oil, canola oil and walnuts.

Increase physical activity: Physical activity, like walking, offers many health benefits, including decreasing blood pressure, lowering blood fat levels, increasing muscle strength, and helping control body weight, which will make you feel good.

Reduce high cholesterol levels: High blood levels of fats like cholesterol increases the  chance of developing heart and blood vessel problems. Simple blood tests can check for total cholesterol and other fats in your blood.

If your levels are too high, you may need to follow a low-fat diet and exercise more. Some patients may also need to take pills to help lower cholesterol.

Keep high blood pressure under control: Follow your treatment plan carefully to control high blood pressure. This will help to protect your heart. Be sure to follow your fluid and sodium limits to keep fluid from building up in your body and increasing your blood pressure.

Keep blood sugar well controlled: Over time, having high blood sugar can cause damage to your eyes, nerves, heart, blood vessels, and kidneys. Good control of blood sugar and other self-management actions can help slow or stop this damage from happening.

Quit smoking: The strongest risk factor for both kidney and heart disease is smoking. Smoking causes hardening of the arteries which causes both coronary artery disease and nephrosclerosis. Smoking is also a risk factor for high blood pressure which can cause both heart and kidney disease.

Get started protecting your heart today! Set your own personal goals and begin making changes one at a time. Your healthcare provider can help you prioritize your areas of change. If you already have some degree of kidney dysfunction, you may need to alter some of the above recommendations according to your unique situation. Your kidney doctor and your dietician can assist with these changes.


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