Ayurvedic treatment for High blood pressure and Kidney disease

High blood pressure and Kidney disease

Know More on Kidney Diseases

  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • FAQS
  • References

Definition

High blood pressure and Kidney disease Ayurvedic treatment

High blood pressure (also called Hypertension),  is a condition where the pressure of the blood flow in the arteries is higher than what it should normally be.1 Over a period of time, this higher pressure of the blood can cause injuries inside the walls of the arteries and lead to a serious heart condition.1 

Moreover, having high blood pressure over a long period of time can also damage the blood vessels of the kidneys. This damage results in a reduced ability of the kidneys to perform their functions. This is because a high blood pressure requires the blood vessels inside the kidneys to stretch more than usual. Over a period of time, the tiny blood vessels of the kidneys start showing scars due to stretching, leading to various kidney diseases.2

While there is no direct correlation of hypertension and its outcomes on kidney in Ayurveda, the abnormal functioning of Vyana vayu (a sub type from the five types of Vata) is implicated as the cause of high blood pressure. Additionally, another subtype of vata, the Apana vayu is responsible for elimination of toxins and is based in the Basti (Bladder). Thus, both high blood pressure and kidney diseases have a correlation as per the concept of Ayurvedic physiology of the Vata niyaman (Balance of Vata) in the body. 3,4

Causes

High blood pressure and Kidney disease

High blood pressure presents in two forms. One is ‘Primary hypertension’ where there is no distinct cause identified and people tend to develop it slowly over a period of time. Some general causes of primary hypertension are:1,2

  • Old age
  • Genetics
  • Improper diet
  • Unhealthy lifestyle

The other type is ‘Secondary hypertension’, which happens because of an underlying medical condition, including certain renal disease such as a tumor that secretes excess of hormone for control of blood pressure.1,2

Symptoms

High blood pressure and Kidney disease

Some commonly seen signs and symptoms of high blood pressure and kidney disease are1:

  • A reading of high blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Unexplained bleeding of nose
  • Loss of weight
  • A feeling of nausea & vomiting
  • Increased or decreased urination
  • Pain in the chest
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drying of skin

Diagnosis

High blood pressure and Kidney disease

Your doctor will diagnose your high blood pressure by regularly monitoring your blood pressure over a period of time. Additionally, your doctor may also recommend some blood and urine tests to identify the secondary causes of the disease.1

  • A blood test called eGFR is measured to check for the filtration capability of the kidneys. If in patients with high blood pressure, the eGFR goes down, it signifies involvement of damage to the kidneys
  • Urine is tested for leaking of proteins such as albumin and globulin that indicate onset of damage to the kidneys

Management

High blood pressure and Kidney disease

In order to manage your high blood pressure, healthy changes to diet and lifestyle are most important. In Ayurveda, high blood pressure is managed by avoiding the factors that lead to the disease and managing it with help of healthy conducts (swasthavritta).4,5

The Ayurvedic line of treatment for hypertension is aims at identifying the root cause of the condition and then administering herbs that can address the problem. For this to happen, digestion is to be improved and the digestive fire is to be strengthened. The toxins that have already accumulated in the body channels have to be eliminated.

Additionally, Ayurveda also recommends a combination of healthy diet (ahar) and lifestyle changes (vihar) in order to manage the condition effectively. These include:

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

  • Increase intake of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Consume garlic ( 2 to 3 pieces) everyday as it is one of the most effective foods in controlling high blood pressure
  • Herbs that are good for you (under medical supervision): Sarpagandha, Brahmi, Shankapushpi and Chandana
  • Avoid foods that lead to indigestion
  • Indian gooseberry (amla)Watermelon, Pomegranate, Soya milk, apple, Unsalted nuts
  • Avoid consuming foods together that are conflicting in nature
  • Practice regular food habits
  • Avoid alcohol consumption, smoking, excess tea and coffee
  • Avoid the following in your diet
    • Meat – especially sea food
    • Heavy foods
    • Excess salt
    • Astringent foods
    • Oily foods
    • Spicy foods
    • Ghee, butter, pickles

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • Take adequate rest as and when required
  • Avoid excessive exercise as that may lead to physical and mental stress. However, morning and evening walk may be beneficial
  • Indulge regularly in meditation, relaxation, pranayama (breathing exercises) and light yoga
  • Avoid suppressing urges to urinate, etc
  • Avoid any activity that leads to stress, strain and anxiety

FAQS

High blood pressure and Kidney disease
  1. How does stones form in our kidneys?

Many a times, kidney stones will not have a single cause, and there could be several factors that increase its risk. Higher concentration of crystal-forming substances in the urine — such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid can cause crystallization of these salts. Additionally, lack of substances in urine which will prevent crystal formation end up creating the perfect environment for formation of kidney stones.

  1. What is pyelonephritis?

The infection of the kidney is medically termed as pyelonephritis. It is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) that usually starts from the lower organs such as the urethra or urinary bladder and gradually moves up to the kidneys. Such infections need immediate medical attention as if left untreated they can cause  permanent damage to the kidneys.

  1. How does CKD develop?

CKD happens due to any secondary condition that impairs the functioning of the kidneys over a period of time. Some of these secondary conditions are-

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Inflammation of kidneys
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Enlarged prostate problems, kidney stones
  • Some cancers
  • Recurrent kidney infection
  1. Do children suffer from kidney disease? How?

Children can get affected with many kidney related diseases. The commonest of these are either an acute kidney disease or chronic long term disease.1 Having a kidney disease can mean treatable disorders without long-term consequences to life-threatening conditions in children. 

As in adults, the causes of kidney disease in children are various secondary conditions of situations, which will impair the functioning of the kidneys over a period of time. Some of these secondary conditions are -

  • Developmental defects of birth
  • Any serious infection
  • Any hereditary condition
  • Any serious major diseases
  • Trauma
  • Blockage of urine
  1. What is acute kidney failure? How is it different form chronic failure?

Acute kidney failure means that the kidneys are unable to filter any waste products from the body and this condition develops rather quickly. Due to the failure of the kidneys to filter blood, dangerous levels of waste accumulates in the body causing severe toxic conditions.Chronic kidney failure on the other hand develops gradually over a few weeks, months or even years.

  1. How does a high BP affect the kidneys?

The condition of having a high blood pressure over a long period of time is known to cause damage to the blood vessels of the kidneys. This damage results in a reduced ability of the kidneys to perform their functions. This is because a high blood pressure requires the blood vessels inside the kidneys to stretch more than usual. Over a period of time the tiny blood vessels of the kidneys start showing scars due to stretching, leading to various kidney diseases. 

  1. What is proteinuria how is it caused?

Proteinuria simply means the presence of ‘protein’ in the urine. This is mostly indicative of poor functioning of the kidneys whereby the proteins are being leaked in to the urine and thrown out of the body. While some amount of protein is found in urine, the quantity increase in kidney damage.

The causes of proteinuria are physiological (meaning temporary), such as after exercise, cold climate, fevers etc; as well as pathological (due to an underlying condition) such as diabetes, kidney tumors, heart disease, liver failure etc.

  1. Why do we have anemia in a kidney disease?

Kidneys perform many important functions apart from filtering he blood. One such vital activity is production of a substance called EPO (Erythropoeitin) which is essential for manufacture of new red blood cells. As the functions of kidneys are hampered in kidney disease, the production of EPO gets affected and results in low RBC production and hence anemia. In advanced stage of kidney disease, where hemodialysis is required, blood loss during hemodialysis also results in anemia.

  1. What is hydronephrosis?

Hydronephrosis refers to the swelling of a kidney that occurs due to accumulation of urine in them. For some reasons, due to a blockage or obstruction of the ureters, the urine being formed in the kidneys cannot move out and gets retained inside the kidneys leading to swelling of the kidneys. This can happen either in any one or both of the kidneys. 

  1. Why are women more prone to getting a UTI?

Women are more likely than men to get an UTI. This is because of the shorter length or the urethra - that allows infections to travel upwards quickly. Additionally, in women, due to close proximity of the anal opening  and the urethral opening, many GI tract infections (Such as those caused by E. coli) spread to the urinary tract.

References

High blood pressure and Kidney disease
  1. Mayo Clinic. High Blood pressure (Hypertension). Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/basics/definition/con-20019580 accessed Sept 13th 2016
  2. High blood pressure and Kidney disease. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/kidney-disease/high-blood-pressure-and-kidney-disease/Pages/facts.aspx accessed Sept 12th 2016
  3. Mishra D et al. Critical analysis of hypertension – An Ayurvedic view. Int J Tech Res Appl. 2015; Vol. 3(5): 263-266
  4. Sahu D et al. Understanding hypertension on Ayurvedic Perspective – a critical review. AyurPharm Int J Ayur Alli Sci. 2015; Vol. 4(3): 48 – 53
  5. Ayurvedic Approach to Some Selected Diseases. Central Council for Research in Ayurveda and Siddha. 2009

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