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Hypertension, also called high blood pressure, is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day, but it can damage your heart and cause health problems if it stays high for a long time.

High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because many people don’t realize they have it. High blood pressure often has no warning signs or symptoms. The only way to detect whether or not you have high blood pressure is to have your blood pressure measured by a doctor or health professional — it is quick and painless.

Health professional taking patient's blood pressure

Uncontrolled high blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure in the U.S.

More than 1 in 7 adults in the U.S., or about 37 million people, may have chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Learn more about CKD here:

Hypertension and CKD

Severe high blood pressure can harm kidney function over a relatively short period of time. Even mild forms of high blood pressure can damage kidneys over several years. As if that weren’t enough, having high blood pressure also raises your risk for heart disease and stroke, leading causes of death in the U.S.

High blood pressure can constrict and narrow the blood vessels in your kidneys, which reduces blood flow and stops the kidneys from working well. When this happens, the kidneys are not able to remove wastes and extra fluid from your body. Extra fluid in the blood vessels can raise your blood pressure even more, creating a dangerous cycle, and cause more damage leading to kidney failure.

Did you know?

  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults (20%) in the U.S. with high blood pressure may have CKD.
  • High blood pressure and the early stages of CKD usually does not cause any physical symptoms, which is an important reason to have regular blood pressure screenings.
  • Following a healthy diet and taking medicine for high blood pressure may keep CKD from getting worse and may prevent other health problems such as heart disease.
  • Although African Americans make up about 13 percent of the population, they account for 35 percent of the people with kidney failure in the U.S. These numbers are concerning and reflect some of the nonmedical reasons for the increased rates of high blood pressure in communities of color, which include where someone lives and works, the foods they have access to, how much physical activity they do, and if they are able to find affordable, regular health care.

women with family

Resources

Learn More about NKFM's Programs

Cooking Matters at the Store

Cooking Matters at the Store is a free program of the No Kid Hungry campaign that empowers families to stretch their food budgets so their children get healthy meals at home.

Enhance®Fitness

Enhance Fitness is a physical activity program for adults that is designed to improve functional fitness and well being.

PATH

PATH helps people better manage their long-term health conditions by learning strategies to deal with pain, fatigue, difficult emotions, and more.