Heart Disease & Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
Heart disease can cause kidney disease, but kidney disease can also cause heart disease. Heart disease is the most common cause of death among people on dialysis. When your kidneys are not working well, they cannot support the other parts of your body as they should. This can cause problems with your heart.
Heart disease often does not have any symptoms until your heart and blood vessels are badly damaged. The best way to prevent heart disease is to prevent the problems that can lead to it, such as anemia, high blood pressure and problems with calcium and phosphate levels.
What is heart disease?
Heart disease, also called cardiovascular disease (CVD), is when you have problems with your heart and blood vessels.
Heart disease can include:
Narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke.
Conditions caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries (blood vessels that bring blood to the heart), known as atherosclerosis. These include:
- Coronary heart disease (CHD)
- Coronary artery disease (CAD)
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
- Other heart conditions—including those that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or heartbeat/rhythm.
Heart disease and dialysis
Heart disease is the most common cause of death for people on dialysis. It is important to work with your doctor to make certain lifestyle changes that can decrease your chance of getting heart disease or making it worse.
Prevent heart disease when you have kidney disease:
- Control your blood sugar if you have diabetes
- Control your blood pressure if you have high blood pressure
- Balance levels of calcium and phosphorous in your body
- Manage high cholesterol
- Follow a heart-healthy diet
- Increase physical activity
- Take your medicines exactly how your doctor told you
- Quit smoking, if you smoke
- Talk to your doctor about medicines you could take (like low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attack)
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Clinical Nephrology and Research