Taking Your Blood Pressure Meds Can Improve Kidney Disease Outcomes

You’d think it would be completely straightforward. Since one of the things that sometimes results from kidney disease is higher blood pressure, a kidney disease sufferer with hypertension problems would naturally take their medication. But a recent report has suggested that one-third of these patients actually don’t maintain their blood pressure treatments.

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center have just published a report that describes this problem. They took two years’ worth of data from 7,227 patients at the VA who had chronic kidney disease (CKD), and who also suffered from hypertension. And this was when they uncovered the astonishing fact that about thirty-three percent of these patients either didn’t take their blood pressure medications, or had what was described as “poor medication adherence.”

The consequence appears to be a twenty-three percent higher likelihood of a worse outcome for those CKD patients themselves, when it comes to the progression of the disease. Doctor Charuhas Thakar, associate professor at the university and chief of the renal division at the VA, points out that high blood pressure is “probably the most important modifiable risk factor in chronic kidney disease.” This means that if patients are able to regulate their blood pressure and reduce the strain on the kidneys, they can do much better at improving their kidney health and, incidentally, lowering medical costs.

The report has just been published in the November 2nd online edition of the American Journal of Nephrology. Doctor Thakar points out that the results of this analysis need further confirmation, since all of this data came only from one place. But certainly this news suggests that people with CKD should not neglect their blood pressure medication if they suffer from hypertension.

(Further reading: UC Academic Health Center News Release, November 3, 2010)

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