Kidney School™—a program of Medical Education Institute, Inc.

Module 13—Heart Health and Blood Pressure

Map of veins, artieries, and capillaries

Five-year-old Ally was watering the flowers for her mom with a garden hose one summer day. She put her thumb over the end of the hose to see if she could stop the water from coming out. At first it was easy, but it quickly got harder and harder to hold back the water. Even when she clamped her other hand over her thumb, she couldn't keep the water from spraying out.

We've all tried this little experiment at one time or another. And we know that no matter how hard we push against the flow, the water will eventually win out. Why? Pressure.

Without pressure behind the water to push it through the many pipes it has to travel, it would never find its way to your home—or garden.

You may have never thought much about it, but pressure is also very important to your health. The type of pressure we'll be talking about in this module is blood pressure. If you have kidney disease or kidney failure, your heart health is also at risk! But if you know what to do, you can lower that risk.

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Your heart is your body's pumping station. It pumps your oxygen-filled blood to each part of your body with every beat, through miles of blood vessels—arteries, veins, and tiny capillaries.

Blood pressure is the force of your blood against the walls of your blood vessels. Since your heart beats about 60-100 times a minute, your body gets a fresh flow of oxygen-rich blood every second or so.

There are many ways you can help control your blood pressure. By the time you finish reading this module, you will have a Personal Plan that you can use to better control your blood pressure, your fluids, and your health. So, let's get started!

First, help us give you the information that is most helpful for you by telling us:

I want to learn about kidney disease
I want to learn about kidney failure (needing dialysis or transplant)

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