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Kidney Ailments May Rise Along With Blood Pressure

Findings emphasize value of early screening programs, report concludes

FRIDAY, March 27 (HealthDay News) -- The higher your blood pressure, the greater your risk of kidney problems, according to a new report.

Analysis of data from the National Kidney Foundation's Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP) also found evidence that more advanced stages of chronic kidney disease are present once a person passes the relatively mild blood pressure elevation of 130 mmHg.

KEEP is a voluntary, community-based screening program created in 2000 to boost awareness about kidney disease among people at high risk and to provide free testing and educational information. Since it began, the program has screened about 125,000 people with diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney disease.

Of those, nearly a third had signs of kidney disease.

In the report, the researchers compared KEEP data with data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, finding more instances among KEEP participants of obesity, diabetes, hypertension with chronic kidney disease and advanced kidney disease among black Americans.

Senior author Dr. George L. Bakris, of the University of Chicago, and his colleagues also found that "the probability of not reporting kidney impairment when present was significantly greater for participants with microalbuminuria, providing an additional reason to assess microalbuminuria in hypertensive patients given this lack of awareness." Microalbuminuria, or the presence in urine of small amounts of the protein albumin, is an early sign that the kidneys are no longer filtering waste as they should.

"Screening programs improve public health, improve knowledge and communication, enhance adherence to recommended therapies, and improve clinical outcomes," Bakris and his team concluded.

The study appears as a special supplement to the April issue of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

More information

The U.S. National Kidney Disease Education Program has more about kidney disease.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: National Kidney Foundation, news release, March 26, 2009

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