If your cat has been diagnosed with kidney disease, you probably already know that the disease has no cure and can cause all kinds of bladder problems. However, that's only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the problems ill kidneys can cause. If your cat has kidney disease, there's a chance that they could also develop high blood pressure as a result. Read on to learn how these two diseases are linked and what you can do to prevent or control the latter.
The Damage Kidney Disease Causes
When cats develop kidney disease, their kidneys aren't as effective at filtering out toxins as they once were. This is because the nephrons inside the kidneys are beginning to fail, putting more strain on the remaining, functioning nephrons. Unfortunately, over time, this can cause the kidneys to develop scar tissue. Between the longer exposure to toxins that aren't being quickly and efficiently filtered out of the blood and the damage to the nephrons themselves, scar tissue accumulates inside the kidneys. This scar tissue is ultimately responsible for high blood pressure.
How Scar Tissue Creates High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can have lots of potential causes, like thickening of the arteries or heart problems, but you might be wondering how scar tissue could cause this problem. The answer lies within the kidneys' ability to filter out the blood.
In order for the kidneys to filter toxins from the blood, blood pumps in and out of the kidneys with every heartbeat. However, when scar tissue accumulates, that scar tissue can begin to block the entryway, exit, or both access points from the arteries connected to the kidneys. This means that in order for the body to continue pumping blood through the kidneys, it has to work harder. Blood pressure rises in order to force the blood in and out of the kidneys, but this compensation can cause problems elsewhere.
What Problems High Blood Pressure Can Cause
High blood pressure isn't good for a cat's health in general. It's not good for the heart and lungs, and can make a cat more lethargic or easily tired out. However, one of the biggest risks your cat could experience from high blood pressure is the danger of becoming blind.
When cats experience prolonged high blood pressure, it can cause the retina of the eye to become detached. If high blood pressure is quickly controlled, the retina can repair itself, restoring at least some vision. However, if high blood pressure isn't detected early or isn't controlled properly, permanent blindness can result.
High blood pressure in cats is a serious problem that needs medical attention and care. If your cat has kidney disease, visit your veterinarian or a local animal hospital regularly for blood pressure checks.