Inflammation Plus High Blood Pressure Equals High Risk of Stroke

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As many as 30% of individuals with Kidney Disease are also diagnosed with hypertension. Similarly, people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) can experience chronic inflammation that can lead to cardiovascular disease and even an increased rate of death. Recent evidence showed that the levels of proteins found in the blood which rise in response to inflammation could increase the risk of stroke among men with high blood pressure.

Although we have known that high blood pressure was a risk factor for stroke, it was still the case that not everyone with hypertension actually suffered a stroke. Why were some more at risk than others? Researchers believe that inflammation could be the key to understanding this question.

They measured levels of various proteins known to be linked to inflammation, a process that damages the arteries and could cause a stroke. They studied over 6,000 healthy men, measuring stroke risk, blood pressure and levels of the inflammation-sensitive plasma proteins (ISPs). The men were followed up for nearly 19 years, during which time 238 strokes occurred.

Men with high levels of ISPs and high blood pressure were four (4) times more likely to have a stroke than men with normal blood pressure and ISPs. When blood pressure was elevated, but ISPs were normal, the risk was only 2.5 times that of healthy men. Clearly, ISPs and inflammation are factors in determining stroke risk among those who have high blood pressure.

Inflammation prevention and treatment in people with chronic kidney disease usually begins with a healthy, kidney-friendly diet. To prevent malnutrition, which is connected with inflammation, try to focus on adequate calorie and protein intake and foods that contain antioxidants. Foods that contain high quality protein are:

  • Fish
  • Poultry (chicken breast)
  • Lean red meat
  • Low cholesterol egg products
  • Eggs or egg whites
  • Soy products (sodium, potassium and phosphorus vary greatly - read labels or check with your dietitian)

One of the most important aspects of inflammation prevention is eating fish 2-3 times a week because of the anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3 fatty acids in fish. Albacore tuna, herring, mackerel, rainbow trout and salmon are among the fish highest in omega 3s. If you do not like fish, ask your doctor about taking fish oil supplements to increase omega 3s.

Hemodialysis patients who have catheters for their dialysis access are at a greater risk for inflammation. A fistula or graft to replace the catheter is recommended to improve health and lower inflammation risk. Some additional considerations in treating chronic inflammation include adequate dialysis to remove toxins from the blood, correction of anemia and vitamin D deficiency, and increased exercise.

Medicines may be prescribed by your doctor to treat inflammation. While you may learn that certain over-the-counter medicines can treat inflammation, it is recommended that you talk to your doctor before taking any medication when you have chronic kidney disease. People with CKD, especially those on dialysis, chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease and even death. That is why it is important that you discuss inflammation with your healthcare team about how it can be prevented and treated.

Source: Davita Kidney Care

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