Can Kidney Problems Cause Heart Problems?

It's common knowledge in the medical community that kidney problems and heart problems often go hand-in-hand. These organs work closely together to optimize your physiological systems. When something goes wrong with one, it can adversely affect the other causing serious health problems.

Can Kidney Problems Cause Heart Problems?

The Link Between Kidney Problems and Heart Problems

The heart pumps blood that is oxygenated throughout the body. The kidneys filter impurities from the blood, excreting them through urine. The kidneys also regulate the levels of electrolytes in the body, maintaining your blood pressure.

In kidney failure, the kidneys lose their ability to filter waste products and excess fluids from the blood. This leads to problems with the transport of oxygen and nutrients in the bloodstream.

Medical studies show that heart failure is a significant contributing factor to the development of chronic kidney disease (CKD). When blood doesn't flow well, it puts pressure on the kidney artery, causing dysfunction in the kidneys.

Heart disease reduces blood flow to the kidneys. This diminished blood flow can impair kidney function and contribute to the development or progression of kidney disease. The kidneys begin to suffer from a reduced supply of oxygenated blood, resulting in impairment and dysfunction. Kidney dysfunction affects the correct function of the hormonal system and blood pressure regulation.

As a result, the heart has to work harder to maintain optimal blood circulation around the body. The arteries develop higher blood pressure and result in the development of heart disease. Doctors check a patient's kidney function if they suspect heart disease. They may use bloodwork tests and CT scans to monitor the patient's kidney health and function.

Kidney Disease and Heart Disease Risk Factors

Common types of heart disease include coronary artery disease, heart attack (myocardial infarction), and heart failure. Kidney disease and heart disease are closely linked. They share risk factors that contribute to both heart disease and kidney disease.

Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and obesity can damage both the heart and the kidneys over time.

Certain systemic diseases can damage blood vessels throughout the body, including those in the kidneys. These conditions are major risk factors for the development and progression of chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and hypertension.

Kidney Damage

Heart attacks can trigger a kidney attack, resulting in damaged kidneys. If a patient incurs a heart or kidney attack, it makes them prone to experiencing further cardiac or kidney events in the future.

People who have a heart attack are likely to have another one within five years, according to studies.

When patients develop both kidney and heart problems, it results in a medical condition known as cardiorenal syndrome. This is a life-threatening condition that requires immediate medical attention and treatment to lower the patient's risk profile and prevent health complications.

Fortunately, advancements in medical science make it easier for physicians to diagnose and treat kidney and heart problems. As a result, the patient experiences a lower risk of repeated events and mitigation of the life-threatening risk these events present to their health.

Patients who consult with a doctor over heart issues may undergo procedures such as imaging exams where the doctors inject a dye into their blood to track circulation and heart function.

Treatment for Kidney & Heart Disease

People with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and cardiovascular disease face a range of challenges and considerations in managing their health. Patients with cardiorenal syndrome require treatment with a combination of drugs to manage their condition. Doctors focus on maintaining blood pressure in the safe range when administering these medications.

The physician may require the patient to use diuretics. Diuretics flush excess water around the heart and kidneys to control blood pressure from the hypertensive range above 140/80. It's common for patients with high blood pressure to experience "edema," or a swelling of the ankles and calves.

This is due to excess water accumulation in the blood and tissues. Edema, or swelling due to fluid accumulation in the body's tissues, can be influenced by the intake of water and salt.

Common Drugs Used in Treatment

  • Ace inhibitors: Enalapril, Ramipril, Lisinopril, and Perindopril
  • Beta blockers: Carvedilol, Bisoprolol, and Nebivolol
  • Aldosterone blockers: spironolactone or eplerenone

These medications also benefit patients with heart problems such as heart failure since they counteract over-activation of their hormonal system. However, the drugs may have an adverse effect on kidney function and health. Therefore, the doctor must carefully monitor the patient's condition with frequent blood tests.

Risk Factors to Avoid Developing Kidney and Heart Problems

Avoid smoking tobacco products as they can dramatically increase blood pressure. Reduce your sodium consumption to lower water accumulation and blood pressure.

The patient should maintain a healthy diet and ensure they get daily exercise. Even something as simple as a brisk walk in the morning is enough to improve cardiovascular and kidney function and health.

Individuals must consult with their doctor on their medication protocol. The physician should adjust the dosage per the patient's blood test results and weight. The patient should weigh themselves in the morning and night to prevent dehydration or fluid overload.

Patients should also speak to their doctor about their medications and ensure they understand how they work in the body.


The attentive, compassionate physicians, providers, and staff at Adult Pediatric Urology & Urogynecology are committed to providing innovative, quality patient care in our state-of-the-art facility.

From screening and prevention to treatment and recovery, our health professionals will be there for you. Our team of dedicated physicians has been serving residents of Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota for more than 25 years.

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