Tips for Controlling Your Blood Pressure if You Live with a Transplant
Part of the function of the kidney is to help you regulate blood pressure.
High blood pressure—known as hypertension—can be common both before and after a kidney or heart transplant.
Between 50 and 80% of adults—and 47 to 82% of kids—living with a transplanted kidney have high blood-pressure levels.1 Culprits that stimulate elevations in blood-pressure level include:
- Anti-rejection drugs
- Salt intake
- Alcohol consumption2
High Blood Pressure Can Lead to Heart and Transplant Problems
While proper blood-pressure control is important for everybody, it is especially important for transplant recipients. Uncontrolled blood pressure can lead to heart problems and impact your transplant survival. Therefore, keeping an eagle eye on your blood-pressure levels is paramount.
Lower Systolic/Diastolic Levels = Decreased Kidney-transplant Loss
Systolic blood pressure is the top number in your blood-pressure reading (e.g., the “130” in a 130/85 reading). Systolic blood pressure indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.
Diastolic pressure is the bottom or second number (the “85” number), and it indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.
Patients with a systolic blood pressure greater than 180 mmHg have twice the risk of kidney-allograft-function loss compared with patients who have systolic of less than 140 mmHg.
A similar pattern exists for elevated diastolic blood pressure.
Listen to Your Doctor
While general guidelines from Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes (KDIGO) suggest that adult kidney-transplant recipients whose blood pressure is consistently greater than 130/80 receive treatment, you should always listen to the recommendations of your own doctor about the blood-pressure level that is right for you.
Your doctor may recommend controlling your blood pressure with:
- Weight control—including regular exercise
- A low-salt diet
- Blood pressure medication
The usual drugs used for the control of high blood pressure include:
- Calcium channel blockers (CCB)
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Angiotensin–II receptor blockers (ARB)
- Beta blockers
AlloCare’s Role in Staying Healthy
Keeping track of your overall health, including your blood pressure, has never been easier.
The AlloCare™ app, which was created with the help of more than 40 transplant recipients, helps transplant patients manage their overall health—including tracking and trending blood pressure over time.
If you are an iPhone user, AlloCare companions with your third-party blood-pressure app so data automatically flows into the app.
For more information about AlloCare, go to https://www.caredx.com/patients-and-caregivers/patient-solutions/allocare/ or download the app from the app store; search “AlloCare.”