Family, Lifestyle, and Blood Pressure

Dealing with high blood pressure and kidney disease as a family can make a surprising difference in either prevention or treatment. Families doing activiti…

“Which came first, the kidney disease or the high blood pressure?” This is a chicken-and-egg question that can’t always be answered, yet the interrelation of the two is well-documented. What we know is that once you have one condition, you’re in danger of triggering the other. And when you have both high blood pressure and kidney disease, you’re caught in a vicious cycle as each condition makes the other worse. But dealing with these health issues as a family can make a surprising difference in either prevention or treatment.

One of the ways people can try to prevent kidney disease is to alter their lifestyle in ways that reduce the risk of high blood pressure. And as a side benefit to such change, their family is also bound to become healthier. For example, simply altering the kind of food one eats can do a lot to bring blood pressure down.

Reducing or eliminating sodium, for example, creates one of the greatest effects on blood pressure. Extra sodium upsets the sodium-potassium balance so that the kidneys aren’t able to excrete as much water, which causes bloating and raises the blood pressure. So reducing sodium can quickly help the body get balanced again. And if it’s taken out of the whole family’s diet, it’s a preventive measure for the sake of their blood pressure too.

Exercise is another way to keep the kidney-blood pressure cycle from starting and getting out of hand. When the cardio-vascular system is in good shape, it pumps the blood more easily and efficiently. This helps the exchange of wastes that the kidneys excrete to occur more easily and efficiently as well, so the kidneys, too, function under much less stress.

This is something the whole family can benefit from. And in fact, getting healthy exercise doesn’t have to be a chore, when the family does it together. Riding bikes, playing beach volleyball – many forms of exercise are a lot of fun, yet they help reduce everyone’s risk of both high blood pressure and kidney disease in the future.

The family can also offer other forms of encouragement for someone who already has either high blood pressure or kidney disease. They can give reminders about medication, help create a less stressful atmosphere, or serve as advocates with the health care system. Blood pressure and kidney disease may be linked, but family links can go a long way to help in the prevention or treatment of both conditions.