High blood pressure affects 68 million people, or 1 in 3 Americans. This is a sobering statistic on its own, but if you recognize the connection between high blood pressure and kidney disease, this number is staggering. High blood pressure is the number two cause of kidney failure, and causes 25% of all cases of kidney disease. Unfortunately, I learned about this connection the hard way: through first-hand experience.
In 1992, I was 21 years old with a bright future ahead of me. I was completely unaware that my high blood pressure could cause irreversible and devastating damage to my kidneys. I will never forget the sinking feeling I had when my doctor told me I was headed into kidney failure and would need dialysis in order to survive. Now I am 43 years old, and I have been on dialysis for more than half of my life.
This is my story about learning about the connection between high blood pressure and kidney disease, but it does not have to be yours. I have made it my personal mission to make sure that everyone in my community understands that high blood pressure can lead to kidney disease. To get the word out I have become an Ambassador with the American Kidney Fund (AKF). In this role I spend a great deal of time sharing my experience and lessons learned with my fellow church members, friends and neighbors. I encourage you to learn if you are at risk for kidney disease. The tips and links below provide additional information about staying healthy and fighting kidney disease:
- Maintain a healthy blood pressure – visit AKF's Keep a Healthy Blood Pressure page.
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle – visit AKF's Tips for Healthy Living page.
If you or a family member struggles with high blood pressure, please get your kidneys screened. Together we can fight kidney disease.