Happy Humpday! Today is week 3 of the AKF Kidney Class. I am a Kidney Coach, and each week I share another slide from the program that I would have done in person if Covid hadn’t come around. The slides are the property of AKF and I have permission to share them here on this blog. The ultimate goal is to raise awareness about Kidney Disease prevention and treatment. The writing that is on the slide is the AKF information. My thoughts, and experiences, are after the slide. I have done a lot of blog posts on the topic of CKD, so be sure and browse through the blog if you are interested.
The slide today covers the topic of what the kidneys do. They really do a lot more than you think, keep reading.
The kidneys are extraordinary organs! Two tiny bean-shaped organs do so much to maintain Homeostasis in the body. What is Homeostasis? Simply put Homeostasis means the body is in balance.
Here are some blog posts on the topics in this slide.
In researching the Star Fruit I learned quite a bit about Oxalates. Now I already knew that Oxalates can cause issues for people with Kidney Disease. But, what I failed to recognize is that Oxalates do not just cause kidney stones, but can cause other issues in the kidneys. If you read here a lot, then you know that I switched from a Low Carb Diet to a Plant-Based Diet with very low consumption of animal meats, or dairy, and also that I am stable Stage 3 CKD. It is a lower in fat way of eating and it really makes me feel better. But, I did not take into account that I may be getting too much Vitamin C, yes that is a bad thing, and an abundance of Oxalates. I knew leafy greens were high in Oxalates, but I did not know so many other foods were. But, that is for another day. I have been noticing some strange recurring symptoms since going fully plant-based. I am curious to discover if it is due to the Oxalates in these foods, one of which I eat almost every day.
Today, I am discussing just Star Fruit. Apparently it is quite delicious and has a lot of good nutrition qualities. However, it also has some very bad qualities. In certain parts of the world where this fruit grows, and is very popular governments have put limits on consumption of Star Fruit. Now that says something.
The problem with Star Fruit if you have Kidney Disease, and even if you don’t, is that it is very high in Oxalates. Oxalates can cause kidney stones, but it can also possibly cause Neurological issues. When the kidneys can not remove excess Vitamin C, and or Oxalates, then they build up in the bloodstream and can cause Neurotoxicity and even seizures, or brain damage. You will see a video below, and two studies to read on this topic. The one study showed that even people without kidney disease, or prone to kidney stones, can have kidney damage caused by these Oxalates from Star Fruit. A 1/2 cup of Star Fruit contains 246 mg of Oxalates. People with Kidney Disease are often recommended to have up to only 100 mg per day of Oxalates. I don’t know about you, but my kidney doctor has never offered me any nutritional advice except to limit Sodium intake. He also warned me against consuming dairy of which I hardly ever have anymore. But, if eating foods high in Oxalates you might want to have dairy with it as the calcium binds with the Oxalates. Vitamin C is broken down into Oxalates in the body. If you do decide you can’t live without Star Fruit you may wish to eat it with a source of Calcium and drink plenty of water. What plenty of water means to me may not be the amount of water you need, especially if you are on fluid restrictions. Be wise when interpreting food topics.
Of particular interest to me was the fact that Star Fruit, or it’s plant name Carambola, or Kamaranka are sometimes used in herbal remedies, or dietary supplements. It is very important to read ingredient labels to see if this is in a product you may wish to purchase. Take a few minutes to check ingredient lists when you purchase items. Also, if there are any cautions, or warnings, on a label be sure to note them. If you would like to learn more about my Health Coaching services, and how I can help you reach your health goals, please use the contact form at the end of this post to message me.
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What are they? Your brain, heart, eyes, kidneys, and penis. Yep, you read that right! Those are 5 perfect reasons to care about your Blood Pressure. This post may contain affiliate links.
May is Blood Pressure Awareness month here on Health Buddy Melissa. All month I am sharing posts on the topic of Blood Pressure. Most people don’t even know they have high Blood Pressure because they never have it checked, or don’t see a doctor to have it checked.
How does Blood Pressure affect these 5 organs. Below is a short description, then you will find several videos that explain it in visual form.
The brain: High Blood Pressure is a risk factor for Vascular Dementia, and Stroke. Trust me you don’t want either of these if you can avoid it.
The heart: Not only can High Blood Pressure lead to Heart Disease, but also Heart Attack. Heart disease can be a very debilitating disorder, and Heart Attack is the most likely end result of Heart Disease if it is left untreated. Blood pressure is not the only risk factor for Heart Disease.
The eyes: Did you know you can have a Stroke in your eyes? Yep, it is true. Eye doctors may be able to detect High Blood Pressure early if you see an eye doctor regularly. Retinal damage, eye stroke, vision loss, plus other diseases of the eye can be related to High Blood Pressure.
The Penis: For all you men out there your plumbing won’t work right if you have High Blood Pressure. As a matter of fact for men Erectile Dysfunction is an early sign that you might have a blood pressure issue. So see your doctor asap!
For all of these reasons everyone should have their blood pressure checked at least monthly. It doesn’t matter if you are old or young, either. Statistics show that younger people are getting High Blood Pressure much earlier.
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Hello, hello! I am so happy you are here. May is Blood Pressure Awareness Month here on Health Buddy Melissa. In March I focused on Kidney Disease, and in April Stress. You can read all of those posts in my archives. There is some great information there.
So, what exactly is blood pressure anyways? Blood pressure simply put is a measurement of force put on your arteries when your heart beats. There are three things that affect your blood pressure Cardiac Output, Volume, and Resistance.
What is a normal Blood Pressure? In 2017 the guidelines changed which increased the number of people diagnosed with High Blood Pressure. While normal is still considered 120/80, the new guidelines suggest that a number over 130 warrants treatment with medication. Now of course there is some controversy, because now 45% of the USA population can have a diagnosis of Hypertension. Apparently this made a lot of people angry. But, there is good evidence to show that a blood pressure greater than 130/80 increases the risk of several health issues like Stroke, Heart Attack, Enlarged Heart, Kidney Disease, Male Sexuality Issues, and even Eye issues. Anyone who has read this blog knows that I am not a jump on the medication wagon kind of girl. There are other ways to lower blood pressure that does not include medications. That does not mean I am anti medication. If you need medication take it! All through the month of May I will be discussing High Blood Pressure and ways to lower it and prevent it. As we age Blood Pressure naturally rises due to the aging effects on the body.
Maybe you are young and you don’t think this is an issue for you. Think again! According to stats collected by the CDC in 2016 people in the age group 18-39 had a prevalence of HBP of 7.5%, 40-59 was 33%, and age 60 and over 63%. Age 40 is not that old and 1/3 of the population had HBP. Statistically more men than women had HBP. It varies between races and economic statuses as well.
When you go to the doctor your blood pressure may be higher than it normally is. A lot of times it is just because of general nervousness. But, it can be a reason for concern. A simple electronic blood pressure machine can be purchased to check your blood pressure daily and keep a log. In your log note the arm you took the blood pressure in, and time of day. Try to take your blood pressure the same time each day for consistent readings. Do not take your blood pressure right after exercising, after eating, if you are excited or scared until you can be calm. Also make sure you are sitting with your feet flat on the floor, and legs or ankles not crossed. Your arm should be relaxed and at or below heart level. Make sure you have a proper fitting cuff. If you have a big arm be sure and buy a machine with a larger cuff. A Pharmacist can help you pick the right size cuff for your arm.
Always be honest with your doctor, and yourself, of any symptoms or high blood pressure readings you may have. Denying, or ignoring a problem will not prevent any of the health issues I mentioned above.
Happy Self Care Saturday! I am trying to stream line topics so they are more direct to certain topics. I will continue with some of the fun ones too. Since April is all about Stress I decided to do some posts on how Stress affects certain parts of the body. Some of this is pretty complicated so I will share some more complicated article links, and articles that are easier to read. I tried to locate a Youtube video but none of them were exactly what I wanted. If you follow this blog, or read it enough, then you know I have CKD and I focus a lot of attention to bring awareness to the issue. So, of course I will start with how Stress effects the kidneys.
Remember that Stress is a feeling of tension and is also a response to various stressors. All body parts can have their own specific reactions to acute and chronic stress. Chronic Stress is the type that can cause harm to the body in various ways. For CKD, Chronic Stress can be a risk factor for getting Kidney Disease, but also Kidney Disease can be a risk factor for Chronic Stress. One of the most common way that stress can harm the kidneys is by increasing blood pressure, and heart rate. Likewise, already having CKD can cause blood pressure to rise which also can stress the body. Also a poor diet consisting of too much salt, fat, sugar, high protein intake, or too little nutrition causing Anemia and malnutrition can also cause stress that can damage the kidneys or worsen already existing kidney disease. When the heart rate and blood pressure rise this puts a heavier work load on the kidneys adding workload stress. This type of stress can damage the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys, or the filtering system. This can cause a progression in existing kidney disease or can be a cause of newly diagnosed kidney disease. Increasing blood pressure in the kidneys can also cause more sugar and fat in the bloodstream of the body which can worsen heart disease or Diabetes.
Stress is a complicated topic with all people having varying ways of coping, avoiding, or dealing with stress. What stresses one person out may not effect another. This makes it complicated to study stress in studies.
According the NKF there are 10 ways to help your kidneys and reduce stress:
Eat healthier foods. I had mentioned this in a previous post. When we are stressed we may find comfort in food especially foods high in salt, fat, and sugars. My particular weakness is potato chips. Potato chips are extremely unhealthy for anyone, but especially for CKD, Diabetes, HTN, or Heart Disease. Eating a healthier diet and trying not to snack at all is the best option for keeping your kidneys healthy. If you have Diabetes you may need to snack. Not to mention all of the phosphorus additives used in packaged foods to keep them fresh. These can be very dangerous for CKD. Be sure to try and pick healthier snack options if you must snack. Avoiding take out, fast food, processed foods, pre made meals, etc. are all ways to eat healthier. When your body is not consuming good quality Nutrition it may be in a chronic state of stress.
Limit salt and caffeine. Caffeine will increase your heart rate and too much salt will increase your blood pressure and cause water retention. This obviously will put more stress on your kidneys causing them to have to work much harder.
Make me time. Relax, have fun, do something for yourself. Make sure you don’t let your job kill you. I tell my coworkers all the time any job will let you kill yourself with overtime and demands if you let them. Learning to say no, or I need a break is not a bad thing. Learning to not feel guilty because you need to de-stress should never be a bad thing. Take up a hobby is also a great way to ensure you are getting me time.
Exercise at least 3 days a week. If you have a job where you are on your feet a lot, this is not exercise. Exercise is planned and something you do intentionally outside of work to improve your well-being. It can be something as simple as a walk in nature which can also add to your me time.
Limit fat and sugar in your diet. This goes along with the other items I stated above. Higher amounts of fats and sugars in your body will lead to more stress on your body and the responses that come with it.
Be positive! This one can be very hard if every day seems like a struggle or you are just slogging through your day. Try to always find something good in your day, find one thing you can be positive about every day, learn positive affirmations, start a journal, meditate, practice mindfulness and so many others to try.
Talk it out! Don’t keep your feelings inside talk them out. You can hire a Health Coach, have a trusted friend, a pet, yourself, a journal, or whatever means you have to talk out your feelings and frustrations. Paint your feelings, or drawing them is another great way to relieve stress. Keeping your feelings bottled up is just another way to increase heart rate and blood pressure, and leading to increased stress on the kidneys.
Sleep. Do you get enough sleep? You will be amazed at how fixing sleep issues can bring stress levels down. Ask me about my Guided Imagery or Distance Reiki sessions for better sleep.
Set goals that are attainable. For example stating I never want to eat salt again is not a reasonable goal and probably will not be attainable. For one the human body needs some salt to function properly. Cutting out all salt could do more damage than good. However, setting a goal such as I want to learn to consume a 2 gram per day sodium diet is definitely attainable and reasonable. A Health Coach can help you.
Listen to music. It doesn’t matter what kind of music as long as you enjoy it and it relaxes you. For bottled up tensions some good high energy music and singing at the top of your lungs can be great therapy. I love it!
Happy World Kidney Day! I hope you are celebrating this day by loving your kidneys just a little bit more. I have talked in previous posts about soaking vegetables to leach potassium, and boiling meats to decrease phosphorus. Today, I am going to discuss some actual studies that show that different cooking methods can help reduce phosphorus, potassium, sodium and fat. Namely soaking, boiling, using a pressure cooker, and stewing. The three main things I took away from these articles are: 1- a pressure cooker is the best method to use, 2- slicing your meat, rather than leaving it one solid piece works best, and 3- be sure and discard any of the water, juices, gravies, etc that the meat will produce. Do not consume it.
Below are the articles that I found that are the easiest to read, and the easiest to understand. There is also a video you can watch. 2 of the articles I read were from one website, and I can not upload them here. But, if you are interested in reading them leave me a note in the comments and I will try to get them to you.
Always remember to discuss any dietary changes you wish to make with your doctor, so you can be properly monitored to be sure the changes do not have any negative effects on your health.
Always remember, whole, unprocessed foods are going to give you the healthiest options of food choices.
Happy Friday! I did not get much done since Wednesday, because I got the second dose of my Moderna Covid vaccine. They actually wanted to schedule me to have it today, but I requested to do it Wednesday, because I have to work tomorrow. Boy am I glad I did it Wednesday. I am totally relieved to have it done and over with. I get nervous about vaccines because my Immune System seems to go into hyper drive. I have no idea if it is because I have CKD, but I expected a rough 24 hours, at least.
I got the shot at 230 PM on Wednesday. Within 30 minutes I could tell I was going to have a super sore arm, I way more sore than the first one. By bedtime I could barely lift my arm the pain was so bad. If you have ever had a Tetanus booster shot the pain is similar. I also became extremely tired within a few hours to the point where I thought I was going to have to take a nap. I just kind of chilled and stared at the TV, lol. So not me. I was able to finish binge watching Wentworth on Netflix. I so can’t wait for season 9. I went to bed very early and slept in. Again, so not me. Thursday, my arm was not as sore, and I was not as tired, but still no desire to do much of anything. I also got a fever of around 100 degrees that did not go away with Tylenol. By about 10 PM the fever broke. So, about 36 hours of feeling kind of crappy and lazy. I can’t really complain. It was kind of nice to just do nothing for a bit. Today, I am all better and could kick myself for not doing much for 2 days, lol.
Have you had the Covid Vaccine yet? How did you do with it?
I think it takes 36 days to have full efficacy of the second vaccine.
This weekend I have to work so I probably won’t add any new content. I am working on a new logo, and some other things. Next week I will be blogging about the DASH Diet and maybe some St Patty’s rcipes.
Have a great weekend!
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Below is a webinar from the AKF on the topic of Potassium and Kidney Disease. Not all kidney patients have issues with potassium, but a lot do. Knowing how to monitor your diet for Potassium intake is vitally important.
Happy Healthy Tuesday! Yes, it is even more cold today than yesterday. But, I do feel for all of my family and friends in the Northeast dealing with blizzard conditions.
Today, I want to talk a little bit about the stages of grief specifically in relation to being diagnosed with Kidney Disease or any an chronic illness. The video below goes through the stages in relation to a death, but loss and grief comes in all forms, not just death. Working through these steps and finally getting to acceptance which will help you move on with your life in a healthier and more productive way, is paramount when getting a new diagnosis. I am going to walk through how I dealt with it, and maybe it will help you too. If you are newly diagnosed. I am an AKF Kidney Coach. I do the class online and by appointment. We can work out how to do it via chat, FB, Zoom etc. You can read about that here. It is completely free.
Let’s walk through the stages of grief:
1- Denial. Some people never get past this stage and therefore never can make the changes necessary to live a healthier lifestyle with a chronic disease. I became super sick on Christmas Day 2016. I was officially diagnosed in February of 2017. I moved through this stage very fast, because, I knew for years something was wrong and could never get a diagnosis. Plus, I am a facts person and there was no way to deny the facts. My kidneys were failing, well one was. I have to add a note here. If you have persistent migraines with no explanation offered, ask your doctor to please run a Renal Panel. Had someone done that when I was having a migraine every 10 days failure may have been avoided.
2- Anger- That last part takes me right into the next stage, anger. I revisit this stage sometimes, especially as I learn more about symptoms I had for years that were overlooked or poo pooed. I have had a notion to be mad at my mother, any doctor that ever saw me through the years, myself, God, you name it. Anger can serve a very good purpose. It can put a fire in your britches to get you motivated to learn and make the changes needed. But, it can also take you to dark places and you will get stuck and never move past anger. This is a hard stage, but use it to your benefit not your retraction.
3- Depression- I didn’t spend much time here either. I don’t believe in being depressed and I don’t think I ever was. A little sad, maybe, but not depressed. There are so many things to be depressed about when getting a new diagnosis. Such as loss of a normal life, loss of normal eating, friends, jobs, money, etc. But, you have to consider what you will gain, not what you will lose. Normal is a label we humans put on things to fit ourselves into particular stereotypes or groups. Your normal will be your own unique normal and it may not look like anybody else’s and that is completely fine.
4- Bargaining- I would say this is the stage I spent the most time in and I do visit here sometimes. If I do this then my kidney function will return. That doesn’t mean it won’t, but reversal of Chronic Kidney Disease, because the nephrons are damaged and do not regrow, is most likely not ever going to happen. However, I do read studies that say nephrons can regenerate and that gives me hope and motivates me.
5- Acceptance- This is the stage you need to get to. I am here now. It doesn’t mean I don’t revisit the other stages here and there. But, I fully accept my diagnosis and all that comes with it. Acceptance brings peace and power. What power? I am healthier now than I was in my 30’s. I have learned, and continue to learn, everything I can about Kidney Disease and how the kidneys function. I am knowledgeable, empowered, and persistent. I take all of those things with me to every doctor’s appointment, social event, family event, meals, eating out, exercise, and anything else that can effect me in a negative way. I approach everything through the eyes of my kidney function. Yes, I have Kidney Disease, but it does not mean the end of a normal and fruitful life. It is chronic, but it is not the end of the world, and I refuse to all it that kind of strength over my life.
If you would like to use my Health Coaching services to help you get to acceptance, use the contact form after the video to message me for a free email assessment and then a meet and greet.
Before I begin this post be aware as I always state my post is information to help you become more knowledgeable about protecting your kidneys from disease, or progression of disease if you already have kidney disease. I am not telling people to stop taking prescribed medication, or medication ordered by your doctor. However, being knowledgeable and having good communication with your doctor is of utmost importance. You will find reading information below, and a video to help explain this topic even further.
Over the Counter medications of certain kinds can actually harm your kidneys. I feel like many people don’t know this, or maybe feel like because it is available at the store it is safe. I know for me, before I was diagnosed I had very frequent headaches and awful muscle pains mostly at night causing me to lose sleep. I took Ibuprofen often and even though I knew there was a risk, I didn’t know I had kidney disease, and I needed to sleep, This use of Ibuprofen may have helped to further damage my kidneys especially since I used it long term. My doctors knew I was taking it, though, as needed for pain. But, they never really ask how often as needed is now do they? There are also prescription medications that can harm the kidneys. I would recommend you always have a basic urine test, and blood work done before starting any new medication, but especially if you have kidney disease.
These are the most common medications that can cause kidney damage.
1- NSAIDS: these are over the counter medications used for fever and pain and include Naproxen, Advil, Ibuprofen, Aspirin- see note, and many others. Research any medications before you take them to see if they qualify as a NSAID. Tylenol, which can also harm the liver in high doses if used too often, or too much can also possibly harm the kidneys. Always check with your doctor as to appropriate dose and how often. A lot of other medications contain Tylenol also called MPAP, Acetominophen and other generic names in combination. Excedrin Migraine is one that has Aspirin, Acetominophen and Caffeine. Be a smart consumer and research all of the active ingredients which will be on the label. In the article below you will see that a baby Aspirin which is usually 81 mg per dose, and usually prescribed for Heart Disease is going to be safe, but still discuss with your doctor. I have not found any narcotic medications that are safe for the kidney disease patient. With all of that said everyone deserves to be pain free, and have their pain concerns addressed. Discuss with your doctor to find a pain curative for you. For pain, and I am stage 3, the only thing my Nephrologist has okayed for me to take is Tylenol, or a baby Aspirin. I do use peppermint oil in a carrier oil, and Bengay for pain. Bengay does contain Aspirin so clear it with your doctor first. Drink lots of water, unless you are on fluid restrictions in which case you should be being monitored by your doctor if you need something for pain other than they say is safe.
2- Cold, allergy and flu medications: A lot of these contain Tylenol or other NSAID. I already discussed those. But, they also contain medications that can make you very drowsy causing you to not drink enough and cause dehydration, or increase blood pressure. Both of these things can damage the kidneys especially if you have high blood pressure. This can be very dangerous. My family knows that if I am sick to make sure I am awake and drinking a full cup of water every hour, especially if I have taken medication. If I absolutely have to take Nyquil because nothing else will work I take a half or quarter of the dose, and make my doctor aware. If I have a cold or allergies my doctor said I can take Claritin also known as Loratadine, Benadryl also known as Diphenhydramine, or Coricidin HBP for severe illness. Claritin should not make you drowsy but both Benadryl and Coricidin HBP may make you very drowsy or even not be able to stay awake. If you are taking any others than the ones I mentioned that are safe talk to your doctor to see if you can switch to a more kidney friendly one. Also, they often are combined with other drugs so always read the labels and active ingredients.
3- Heartburn or nausea: When I was first diagnosed I had nausea so bad I could not eat anything and could only drink ice water. Initially, because my GP did not suspect kidney disease as I had no reason to suspect it in her mind, she ordered Prilosec for me. It probably caused my kidney damage to worsen, at least in the short term, until we learned what really was wrong and the medicine was stopped. Proton Pump Inhibitors are damaging to the kidneys. Zantac, Prilosec, Tagamet and others are all nephrotoxic. You should request your doctor to prescribe you a non PPI to control your GERD, heartburn or nausea related to those ailments. The only heartburn my doctor has said is safe is Pepcid also called Famotadine. Be careful if you are taking Tums in large amounts as they contain high doses of Calcium. Maalox, and others like Maalox are another type of heartburn medicine that is high in Aluminum and sometimes Magnesium, both which can be harmful to kidneys in high amounts, or if you already have disease especially if you don’t know you have kidney disease as is often the case for most people.
4- Antibiotics: Penicillin and derivatives of Penicillin, Aminoglycoside antibiotics and others may cause harm to the kidneys. When I was 21 I had strep throat confirmed by throat culture. At that time I was working 12 hour night shifts at my local hospital. I was prescribed Penicillin and sent on my way. After a few days of taking it I woke up with swollen eyes and a rash covering my whole body with sticky fluid. Of course, being young, half asleep and not thinking clearly I figured I had an allergic reaction took Benadryl and went back to bed. While the Benadryl stopped the reaction I now wonder if they reaction may have damaged my kidneys. Of course being young and dumb, and the rash went away I did not report this to my doctor which I didn’t even really have one at 21. This would be my biggest thing to tell people. Always discuss antibiotics with your doctor if you have kidney disease. I had to take one recently and Doxycycline was allowed. Be sure to tell the pharmacist you have kidney disease so they can teach you how to take the medication properly to avoid further damage. If you take a medicine but don’t have kidney disease take note if you notice you are not urinating as much as you normally do and let your doctor know.
5- Drugs that treat Cancer are sometimes harmful to the kidneys. Obviously if you have Cancer you will want to seek treatment. Always discuss with your doctor monitoring your labs, and urine to be sure your kidneys are functioning well.
6- IV Contrast Dyes: These are typically used during certain tests or procedures. Again, always discuss with your doctor to be sure it is safe for you to have the procedure if you have kidney disease, and what to do to prevent kidney damage from occurring. Typically after such a procedure you will be instructed to drink lots of water to help clear the dye from the kidneys.
A special note, which will be covered more in one of the links below, if you are taking high blood pressure medications and you become sick with a cold, flu, diarrhea or nausea you will want to let your doctor know. If you are not taking in enough fluids, and become dehydrated there is a very good chance your blood pressure may go down even if you have high blood pressure. Your doctor may ask you to monitor your blood pressure and possibly hold your medication it is below a certain number until you can resume normal eating and drinking. Do not make these decisions on your own, it can be very dangerous.
A lot of vitamins, supplements and other so called natural remedies have never been studied in people with kidney disease. Always use caution and ask your doctor to advise prior to taking. Your doctor should always know any medications, herbs, supplements, vitamins etc that you are taking, whether they advised you to or not. Illicit or illegal drugs, especially Cocaine and Methamphetamines are also very harmful to drugs. Seek help to stop taking these asap. Alcohol is also toxic to the kidneys, and smoking may cause narrowing of the blood vessels which can lead to kidney damage.