What to Look for in Heart Disease and CKD

If you are currently living with chronic kidney disease (CKD), you are more likely to develop heart disease, and vice versa. Sadly, heart disease is the most common cause of death among CKD patients. However, by staying informed and making positive changes to your lifestyle, you can stay healthy.

The Relationship Between CKD and Heart Disease

Although heart disease can cause issues with your kidneys, kidney disease can also put a strain on your heart. While this relationship can be complex, depending on your personal health history, CKD and heart disease are often caused by two main pre-existing conditions: diabetes and high blood pressure.

While your kidneys and heart appear to function separately, they work closely together. When a problem develops in one of these organs, issues can arise in the other. For example, when you have heart disease, your heart may not pump blood as efficiently as it should, blockages can occur, and your kidneys receive a reduced supply of oxygen-rich blood. 

This can lead to kidney disease. In contrast, if you have CKD, your body has to work harder to increase the blood supply to your kidneys. Since your heart has to work harder, after an extended period, heart disease can result.

Since heart disease rarely causes any symptoms until your heart is significantly damaged, it’s imperative that you take proactive action. That is why if you currently have CKD, you need to be aware of the complications that can lead to heart disease, including anemia, high blood pressure, high homocysteine levels, and poorly balanced calcium-phosphorus levels.

How CKD and Heart Disease Are Diagnosed

If you have CKD, it’s important to monitor your heart health — just as it’s imperative that you monitor your kidneys if you’ve been diagnosed with heart disease.

To test for kidney disease, urine and blood samples are typically taken. Your blood will show how well your kidneys are filtering and your urine will detect albumin levels (the protein found in urine following kidney damage).

When there are concerns surrounding your heart, they may administer various tests, including a blood pressure test, a cholesterol test, or an electrocardiogram. It’s also important to remain mindful of your family medical history during the diagnostic process.

Take Action — Change Your Lifestyle and Diet

Each patient’s case is unique to them, which is why you should work closely with your physician to develop a personalized treatment plan. For example, if you have diabetes, controlling your blood glucose levels will be critical. Depending on your circumstances, medication may be prescribed to target key risk factors (i.e. high blood pressure).

Although there are certain risk factors that are out of your control in terms of your family history and genetics, there is a lot you can do to improve your health. Targeting your lifestyle can help you protect both your kidneys and heart for years to come. Staying active and maintaining a healthy weight will help you stay healthy.

Your diet is also incredibly important. If you have diabetes, changing your diet will help you control your blood glucose levels, and a kidney-friendly diet will help you reduce your risk of further damage. If you need help choosing healthy foods, there is support available.

Learn more about nutrition counseling nutrition counselling, and try some of these kidney-friendly recipes.

If you’re ready to improve your health and quality of life, we can help at the Texas Kidney Institute. Contact us today!