My kidneys are victims of my elevated blood pressure
Hypertension killed Tina Turner’s kidneys. It required an organ donation from her husband Erwin to save her life. The musician recounts the story of her high blood pressure, dialysis, and kidney transplantation:
My kidneys are victims of me denying the fact that my hypertension needed therapy with conventional medicine. I put myself at great danger by refusing to accept the reality that I required daily medication for the rest of my life. I considered my body an invulnerable and indestructible bastion for way too long.
I have been suffering from hypertension for a long time, got diagnosed in 1978, but didn’t care much about it. I can’t remember ever getting an explanation about what high blood pressure means or how it affects the body. I considered high blood pressure my normal. Hence, I didn’t really try to control it. In 1985 a doctor gave me a prescription for pills of which I was supposed to take one a day, and that was it. I didn’t give it any more thought. After suffering a stroke in 2009 because of my poorly controlled hypertension I struggled to get back up on my feet. This is when I first learned that my kidneys didn’t work that well anymore. They had already lost thirty-five percent of their function. I tried to learn more about these organs’ function and meaning. Most people probably don’t even know where their kidneys are located and what they are for until their health is at stake.
I continued to be on prescriptions for controlling my hypertension. But I was convinced that they made me feel even worse. With time I developed a fatal dislike of these pills. I remembered relishing life before I started taking them and wished I could be as clear headed and energetic as I used to be. When a friend suggested a different approach and recommended a homeopathic doctor in France, I didn’t hesitate. He replaced my conventional medication by homeopathic medicine. And I was told to always drink, drink, drink. Indeed, I started feeling better after a while.
I had not told my doctors about my experiment, and when my next routine check-up was due, I was excited to see if the homeopathic medication had decreased my blood pressure and improved my kidney function. Rarely in my life had I been so wrong. I had not known that uncontrolled hypertension would worsen my renal disease and that I would kill my kidneys by giving up on controlling my blood pressure. I never would have replaced my medication by the homeopathic alternatives if I had had an idea how much was at stake for me. Thanks to my naivety I had ended up at the point where it was about life or death.
At first, I may not have noticed any signs of sickness, but some of the symptoms that I blamed on the medication, like my fatigue, nausea or occasional irritability, were really signs of my kidney disease in its final stage. How could it occur to me to make treatment decisions all by myself? If I had had any idea about the risk I was taking I would never have taken any chance on alternative medicine. The doctors made it very clear that the consequences of my decision were irreversible. My kidney function had reached its all-time low.
“Most people probably don’t even know where their kidneys are located.”
In order to survive, I had to start dialysis. It was my only option, but it was depressing to be connected to a machine for hours. For the next nine months, all my life was about dialysis. I realized that the struggle for healing is always also a struggle for accurate information. For example, I had not been aware that chronic kidney failure is called “silent killer” because symptoms do not become noticeable until 80 percent of renal tissue is lost. As it happened to me, hypertension is one of the most frequent causes of kidney failure. I was lucky that Erwin offered to donate one of his kidneys to me. It was the first step to kidney transplantation, a very complex procedure.
The months after the transplantation were marked by a never ending up and down. From time to time my body tried to reject the donor kidney as it frequently happens after a transplantation. Every so often this required more hospital admissions. I kept feeling nauseous and dizzy, forgot things, and was scared a lot. These problems are still not quite resolved. I am on multiple prescriptions and take great care to follow my doctors’ orders meticulously. For I know that I can trust them and their therapies.”
“I trust in my therapy.”
The importance of a check up
Almost as simple as washing hands - a little urine test could prevent dialysis and transplantation.