Using blood pressure drugs for a long time may harm kidney health

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High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide.

It occurs when the force of blood against the walls of the arteries is too high, which can damage blood vessels and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other health problems.

There are many factors that can contribute to high blood pressure, including genetics, age, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and a diet high in salt and saturated fats.

Symptoms of high blood pressure are often not noticeable, which is why it is often referred to as the “silent killer.”

Regular blood pressure checks are essential to monitor and manage high blood pressure, as early detection and treatment can significantly reduce the risk of complications.

Lifestyle changes are often recommended as the first line of defense against high blood pressure.

This can include regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, reducing salt intake, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption.

In addition to lifestyle changes, medication may be necessary to control high blood pressure. Several types of medications are available, including diuretics, ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, and angiotensin receptor blockers.

It is essential to work with a healthcare provider to determine the best treatment plan based on individual needs and health status.

A recent study conducted by scientists from the University of Virginia has revealed that long-term use of drugs commonly prescribed for high blood pressure and heart failure may be contributing to kidney damage.

The study found that patients should continue taking these medications, including the widely used ACE inhibitors, but urged for further research to better understand the long-term effects of these drugs.

Chronic high blood pressure affects a billion people worldwide, and researchers sought to understand why severe forms of the condition are often accompanied by thickening of the arteries and small blood vessels in the kidney, which can lead to organ damage.

The study found that specialized kidney cells called renin cells play a critical role in this process. Normally, these cells produce renin, a vital hormone that helps regulate blood pressure.

However, harmful changes in the renin cells can cause them to invade the walls of the kidney’s blood vessels, leading to the thickening and stiffening of these vessels. As a result, blood can’t flow through the kidney as it should.

The researchers also found that long-term use of drugs that inhibit the renin-angiotensin system, such as ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers, has a similar effect.

Although these drugs are widely used for treating high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and heart attacks, they can lead to hardened kidney vessels in both lab mice and humans.

The researchers emphasized that these medications can be lifesaving for patients and stressed the importance of continuing to take them.

However, additional studies are necessary to better understand their long-term effects on the kidneys.

Researchers say that regular monitoring of blood pressure and consistent adherence to treatment plans are crucial for managing high blood pressure and reducing the risk of complications.

Regular monitoring of blood pressure at home can help people with high blood pressure keep track of their condition and make necessary adjustments to their treatment plan.

A healthcare provider can recommend a suitable blood pressure monitor and provide guidance on how to use it properly.

Stress can raise blood pressure, so finding ways to reduce stress can be helpful in managing high blood pressure.

Some ways to reduce stress include relaxation techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga, and regular exercise.

With proper management, many people with high blood pressure can lead healthy and active lives.

This study was published in JCI Insight and led by Dr. Maria Luisa Sequeira Lopez et al.

If you care about kidney health, please read studies about how to protect your kidneys from diabetes, and drinking coffee could help reduce risk of kidney injury.

If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about unhealthy habits that could increase high blood pressure risk, and people with severe high blood pressure should reduce coffee intake.

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