Earlier Warning for Kidney Trouble


An overnight blood pressure check may one day spot kidney disease (a common problem for diabetics) before it starts.

In a study of 75 teens and young adults with type 1 diabetes, researchers in Spain and the US found that those whose blood pressure did not fall normally at night were 70% more likely to develop signs of early kidney disease (The New England Jour. of Medicine, Sept 12, 2002). Experts think high blood pressure and high blood sugar are responsible for the microscopic scarring that makes diabetic kidneys falter and ultimately fail.

Currently, doctors check kidney health by looking for microalbuminuria, tiny amounts of albumin in urine that's been released from already damaged kidneys. "Nighttime blood pressure checks using ambulatory blood pressure monitoring may be very helpful in identifying diabetic patients who need to start on medications to prevent kidney damage, as well as those for whom such treatment may not be needed," says Daniel Baffle, MD, chief of nephrology at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. -JM


EDITED BY Sarí Harrar; Contributors Kasia Dawidowska; Jordan Matus and Paula Rasich

Share this with your friends