Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is defined as the slow loss of kidney function over time by the National Library of Medicine. Many factors can affect kidney function including diabetes and high blood pressure. Without treatment, the functioning of the kidneys continues to decrease until end stage renal failure. Treatment slows, but does not stop the progression of this disease.
The kidneys function in the body is to maintain the water balance, maintain salt and mineral balance, stimulate red blood cell production, and remove waste products. CKD leads to a buildup of fluid and waste products in the body. All parts of the body are affected by this malfunction. The cardiovascular system is deeply impacted by CKD. Mary Ann Arndt, MD reports to the American Association of Kidney Patients that kidney patients are at higher risk to having heart disease listed as the cause of death.
CKD affects the heart and blood vessels of the body. Complications can include congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, pericarditis, and stroke.
Why does Chronic Kidney Disease affect the Cardiovascular System?
The kidneys impact the cardiovascular system and the cardiovascular system has an effect on the kidneys. Both systems depend on and affect each other. Kidney disease can create or increase cardiovascular disease. Problems with cardiovascular system can decrease the functioning of the kidneys.
Pericarditis is an inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart. This inflammation can be caused by the increase in toxins that accumulate in the blood due to chronic kidney disease.
Patients with CKD develop imbalances with hormones that regulate the amount of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. These minerals are then deposited on the blood vessel walls. This makes the blood vessels stiff and reduces the volume of blood that can flow through that blood vessel. This is similar to arthrosclerosis-the minerals block the blood vessel like the plaque.
Since the kidneys are responsible for signaling the bone marrow to make red blood cells, CKD can cause anemia. Anemia causes the heart to work harder. The heart has to pump harder to deliver the same amount of oxygen to the cells of the body. The harder the heart works; the more likely cardiovascular disease symptoms will occur.
CKD can cause high blood pressure because the kidneys are not able to remove fluid from the body effectively. The reduced function of the kidneys causes fluid to be retained. This fluid creates a greater blood volume. This increases the pressure on the blood vessels. Combining the increased pressure, low red blood cells, and stiffening due to the mineral deposits is a recipe for heart failure or stroke.