(WJHL)- February is National Heart Month, and though the heart and kidneys work together, they can also be damaged together, as well.
We all know what the heart does. The kidneys act as a filter and remove waste products from the blood. An expert from Holston Medical Group shared the newest information to keep your heart, and kidneys, healthy.
Holston Medical Group Nephrologist Dr. Sharan Kanakiriya is up-to-date on the latest research regarding the link between heart disease and kidney disease. Dr. K says there are certain risk factors that can damage both the heart and kidneys.
“We have some common risk factors for both kidney disease as well as heart disease,” he says. “The common ones are diabetes, it can cause heart disease and kidney disease, hypertension, chronic tobacco use or smoking, being overweight. These are common risk factors for both kidney disease and heart disease.”
A recent study highlighted the cause of kidney disease due to heart disease. This is called Cardio-Renal Syndrome.
Dr. K explains, “When the pump function goes down, the heart pump goes down, it triggers compensatory mechanisms involving the nervous system and the hormonal system that results in salt and water retention and reduced blood flow to the kidneys. And because of that, kidney function goes down.”
And Dr. K says a Cardio-Renal Syndrome diagnosis increases your chances of kidney damage.
“If somebody has heart failure, the risk of getting kidney failure, or end-stage kidney failure requiring dialysis is about eleven times higher than somebody who has normal heart function,” he says.
So, what can we do to prevent it? Dr. K says a healthy low-salt diet, quitting drinking and smoking, controlling blood sugar, and regular exercise is a good start. He also recommends getting your kidney function checked regularly if you’re at risk.
“Early stages of kidney disease, you don’t have any symptoms, you don’t feel any different. YOu feel as normal as ever,” he warns.
That makes regular check-ups and talks with your doctor so important.
“that’s the key thing,” he says. “Have a good relationship with your provider, and interact with them.”
Dr. K also advises being aware of over-the-counter medications. He says non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or (NSAIDS) used for weeks or months at a time can hurt kidneys, and be hard on the heart. Also, potassium or magnesium can cause problems if you have kidney disease. He says always talk with your doctor to make sure you’re taking the right medication.