Millions With ‘Silent’ Hypertension May Have Kidney Disease, Too

As many as 8 million adults in the United States who have undiagnosed or early-stage hypertension may also have kidney disease, putting them at higher-risk of what may be preventable kidney failure, new research led by Johns Hopkins suggests. 

The researchers found that 27.5 percent of those with diagnosed hypertension also had kidney disease, while 13.4 percent of those with normal blood pressure have kidney disease. In people with early-stage hypertension (or pre-hypertension), 17.3 percent had kidney disease; in those who had undiagnosed hypertension, 22 percent had kidney disease. 

Meanwhile, experts estimate that nearly a third of Americans with high blood pressure have no knowledge of the disorder, and are unaware that their blood pressure is in the danger zone. Consequently, they may not seek testing and treatment for hypertension or for kidney disease, an associated condition. 

“There’s likely a very large group who have kidney disease and don’t know about it,” said Deidra C. Crews, M.D., Sc.M., the study’s leader and a nephrology instructor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “If someone doesn’t know they have kidney disease, they’re likely not taking steps like altering diet, taking medication or making other lifestyle changes needed to avoid losing all kidney function.” 

Published online in the journal Hypertension, the study for the first time estimates the prevalence of kidney disease among people with varying degrees of hypertension. Crews and her colleagues on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Chronic Kidney Disease Surveillance Team examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2006, looking at records from nearly 18,000 participants for whom information on blood pressure and kidney function were available. 

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