Hypertension and the kidneys

Br J Hosp Med (Lond). 2022 May 2;83(5):1-11. doi: 10.12968/hmed.2021.0440. Epub 2022 May 27.


Hypertension is a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality globally. Hypertension and chronic kidney disease are closely intertwined conditions as hypertension can lead to deteriorating renal function and progressive chronic kidney disease can contribute to worsening hypertension. In the setting of chronic kidney disease, the pathophysiology of hypertension is complex and involves the interplay of many factors including a reduced number of functioning nephrons, sodium retention and volume expansion, upregulation of the sympathetic nervous system, hormonal factors such as upregulation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, and endothelial dysfunction. Poorly controlled hypertension can accelerate the progression to end-stage kidney disease. This review discusses the pathophysiological mechanisms that contribute to hypertension, including sympathetic nervous system activity, the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and the role of sodium. In the setting of chronic kidney disease, the relationship with hypertension and renovascular disease as a potential cause and target for therapeutic intervention is briefly reviewed. Finally, treatment options, targets and the long-term cardiovascular benefits of optimal blood pressure control are discussed.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Chronic kidney disease; End-stage kidney disease; Hypertension.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / etiology
  • Hypertension* / therapy
  • Kidney / physiology
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / complications
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic* / therapy
  • Renin-Angiotensin System / physiology
  • Sodium / metabolism


  • Sodium