Cardiovascular Disease

Links between Kidney Disease and Cardiovascular Disease




Most organs of our body have strong links and interdependency. Heart and kidneys are not an exception. There is a strong connection between kidney disease and cardiovascular (heart and blood vessels) disease. People with CKD are known to have an increased risk of a stroke or heart attack at a younger age, because of changes in the circulation caused by kidney disease.

What is heart disease?

Heart disease includes any problem that keeps your heart from pumping blood as well as it should. The problem might start in your blood vessels or your heart.

Heart and blood vessel problems include

  • the build-up of a substance called plaque in the walls of the blood vessels
  • a blood clot that blocks the flow of blood to the heart
  • heart attack—heart damage caused by a lack of blood and oxygen to the heart

Who gets heart and kidney disease?

You are more likely to develop heart disease if you have:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • High blood cholesterol
  • A family history of early heart disease

and if you: smoke; are overweight; don’t exercise; are a man age 45+; are a woman age 55+

How are kidney disease and heart disease related?

Your heart and kidneys are connected and dependent on each other. And both heart disease and kidney disease share a number of the same risk factors, including:

·      Diabetes

If you have diabetes, you have too much glucose, also called sugar, in your blood. Too much glucose in your blood for a long time can damage many parts of your body, including your heart and kidneys.

·      High Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels. With high blood pressure, your heart works harder to pump blood, which can strain your heart. High blood pressure can damage your blood vessels. If high blood pressure damages the small blood vessels in your kidneys, your kidneys will not filter your blood as well as they should.

High blood pressure is not only a cause of kidney disease; kidney disease is also a cause of high blood pressure. When you have damaged kidneys, they may be unable to filter extra water and salt from your body. The high blood pressure that results can then make kidney disease worse. Worsening kidney disease can raise blood pressure again. A dangerous cycle results as each disease makes the other worse.

Can kidney disease and heart disease be prevented?

While you cannot always prevent kidney disease and heart disease, you can lower your chance of having kidney disease and heart disease by taking the following steps:

  • Regularly visiting your doctor
  • Keeping your blood pressure below 140/90
  • Controlling your blood glucose if you have diabetes.
  • Trying to keep your cholesterol numbers in a healthy range.
  • Controlling your weight and eating healthy.
  • Being physically active 30 minutes a day most days of the week.


Related Links

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1210, Brussels, Belgium
Tel +32 2 808 04 20

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