Tag Archives: Hypertension

Diabetes Can Be Predicted 7 Years Before Pregnancy With Blood Sugar And Body Weight

A woman’s risk of developing diabetes during pregnancy can be identified up to seven years before she becomes pregnant based on routinely assessed measures of blood sugar and body weight, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the online issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Researchers at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., studied 580 ethnically diverse women who took part in a multiphasic health checkup at Kaiser Permanente Northern California between1984 and 1996. The researchers looked at women who had a subsequent pregnancy and compared those who developed gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) during pregnancy to women who did not have GDM.

The study found that the risk of GDM increased directly with the number of adverse risk factors commonly associated with diabetes and heart disease (high blood sugar, hypertension and being overweight) present before pregnancy. In addition, the authors found that adverse levels of blood sugar and body weight were associated with a 4.6-fold increased risk of GDM, compared to women with normal levels.

The study is among the first to look at routinely measured cardio-metabolic risk factors before pregnancy in women who later became pregnant and developed GDM. The research provides evidence to support pre-conception care for healthy pregnancies as noted in a 2006 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That report suggested that risk factors for adverse outcomes among women and infants can be identified prior to conception and are characterized by the need to start, and sometimes finish, interventions before conception occurs.

Women who develop GDM during pregnancy are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes after pregnancy, previous research has shown. GDM is defined as glucose intolerance that typically occurs during the second or third trimester and causes complications in as much as 7 percent of pregnancies in the United States. It can lead to early delivery and Cesarean sections, and increases the baby’s risk of developing diabetes, obesity and metabolic disease later in life.

Dr Monique M. Hedderson

“Our study indicates that a woman’s cardio-metabolic risk profile for factors routinely assessed at medical visits such as blood sugar, high blood pressure, cholesterol and body weight can help clinicians identify high-risk women to target for primary prevention or early management of GDM,” said lead author Monique Hedderson, PhD, a research scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research.

Although the established risk factors for GDM are older maternal age, obesity, non-white race/ethnicity, giving birth previously to a very large baby and a family history of diabetes, these risk factors are absent in up to half of women who develop GDM. This study is significant because it gives a better understanding of pre-pregnancy predictors of GDM that may help identify women at risk and get them into intervention programs before pregnancy to prevent GDM and its associated risks, researchers said.

Related articles on gestational diabetes:

  • A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that cardio-metabolic risk factors such as high blood sugar and insulin, and low high density lipoprotein cholesterol that are present before pregnancy, predict whether a woman will develop diabetes during a future pregnancy.
  •  A study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found there is an increased risk of recurring gestational diabetes in pregnant women who developed gestational diabetes during their first and second pregnancies.
  •  A study in Diabetes Care of 10,000 mother-child pairs showed that treating gestational diabetes during pregnancy can break the link between gestational diabetes and childhood obesity. That study showed, for the first time, that by treating women with gestational diabetes, the child’s risk of becoming obese years later is significantly reduced.
  •  A study in Obstetrics & Gynecology of 1,145 pregnant women found that women who gain excessive weight during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, may increase their risk of developing diabetes later in their pregnancy.

Via EurekAlert

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mHealth: How Cell Phones Can Deliver Better Diabetes Care

AT long last, technology is coming to the rescue of diabetics, trying to make diabetes management easier. In fact, just in the past few years, there finally has been marvelous progress in diabetes care. This isn’t just with insulin pumps and home blood glucose monitoring systems. The technologies available now and those at the cusp of development are really encouraging and exciting.

It is heartening to see the advantages of the wireless world finally being brought to use beyond socializing. For diabetics, they’re being used as a means of communicating critical information about our health and the status of the conditions that can be mortally devastating and an expensive burden.

For example, after a year-long study researchers have demonstrated how a mHealth (mobile-phone-based remote patient monitoring) system helped patients in Canada with type 2 diabetes and uncontrolled hypertension get their blood pressure (BP) under control. The study findings were presented at a press briefing in Tampa, Florida at the American Telemedicine Association’s (ATA) 16th Annual International Meeting last week and discussed later in this report.

Telehealth: The New Frontier

Telemedicine is the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve patients’ health status. Closely associated with telemedicine is the term “telehealth,” which is often used to encompass a broader definition of remote healthcare that does not always involve clinical services. Videoconferencing, transmission of still images, e-health including patient portals, remote monitoring of vital signs, continuing medical education and nursing call centers are all considered part of telemedicine and telehealth.

Telemedicine is not a separate medical specialty. Products and services related to telemedicine are often part of a larger investment by health care institutions in either information technology or the delivery of clinical care. Even in the reimbursement fee structure, there is usually no distinction made between services provided on site and those provided through telemedicine and often no separate coding required for billing of remote services.

Of course, nothing replaces weight loss and proper diet. But communications technology can be used as a means to inform, monitor and support patients and health care providers and medical companies are quickly learning how to leverage emerging communication and electronic technologies to make diabetes management more efficient, reducing hospitalizations and ultimately decreasing the cost of the disease to individuals and on society.

Mobile Health: The New Hot Topic

Dale C. Alverson, MD, ATA president and medical director of the Center for Telehealth at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque, said “mobile health, or mHealth, is the hot topic in telemedicine technology. These are applications for remote monitoring of patients with chronic disease, such as diabetes and chronic congestive heart failure, through a mobile phone-based system.”

This technology is “becoming ubiquitous,” he added, “and in our program, we are seeing the providers and the patients adopting this technology in ways we may never have dreamed of. It adds that mobility and that sense of connection between patient and provider.”

Killer Apps That Are Revolutionizing Diabetes Care

This was ably demonstrated by Joseph Cafazzo, PhD, PEng, senior director of eHealth Innovation at the University Health Network, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and his colleagues who developed and tested an mHealth intervention to automate capture of BP readings through a mobile-phone-based system that provides “actionable messages to patients and critical alerts to physicians.”

Dr Joseph Cafazzo

Their study involved 110 men and women with type 2 diabetes and uncontrolled systolic hypertension. Study subjects had a mean age of 62 years and a mean weight of 90.2 kg (198.4 lbs).

Over the course of 1 year, half of the subjects monitored their BP at home with a standard home BP monitoring system (the control group). The other half used a Bluetooth-enabled BP monitor that transmitted readings through a mobile-phone-based remote patient monitoring system to their family physician (the intervention group). These patients were also given automated reminders after 3 days of not taking their measurements.

The ChroniCare system: glucometer, blood pressure cuff, and Healthgate appliance for data transmission.

At baseline, patients’ mean daytime BP was 142.7/77.1 mm Hg. After 1 year, Dr. Cafazzo reported, the intervention group had a 9.1 mm Hg dip in systolic BP (P < .0001) and a 4.6 mm Hg dip in diastolic BP (P < .0001). In contrast, there was virtually no change in the control group. According to the investigators, “50% of patients in the telemonitoring group had their BP under good control (130/80 mm Hg),” compared with only 29% in the control group (P < .05).

Self-awareness: Gateway to Better Self-care

“The family doctors caring for these patients really had nothing to do with the improvements. This was really a self-care tool and the patients were performing better self-care because they were more self-aware, more accountable,” Dr. Cafazzo said.

By contrast, study patients who merely checked their BP at home, without reporting it to their physician through the remote system, had no marked change in BP during the study. “The act of just giving a patient a [BP] home monitor had no effect; it had to have the telemonitoring component,” Dr Cafazzo pointed out.

“We believe that patients become far more self-aware and more accountable to their care provider knowing that the data are going back to their care provider and that the care provider will be acting on it,” he explained.

During the briefing, Dr. Cafazzo also shared similarly promising findings from a recently completed study in which a mobile-phone-based system significantly improved uncontrolled BP in a group of chronic heart failure patients.

For the heart failure patient, he explained, “we have a decision support engine that looks at the data and only sends relevant data to the clinician when the algorithm determines that the patient is deteriorating at home.” This is a “first of its kind,” he added, in terms of using a mobile-phone-based system to monitor multiple parameters.

Next Target: Adolescents With Diabetes

Dr. Cafazzo also presented preliminary findings from the first clinical trial of an iPhone application called “Bant,” which has a fully integrated glucometer and targets adolescents 12 to 16 years of age with type 1 diabetes. The study currently has 28 adolescents enrolled.

“This is a very difficult population,” he said. “They are transitioning from being totally dependent on their parent’s care to asserting their independence, and unfortunately their HbA1c often starts to increase. We knew this population would be amenable to the iPhone, but that their attention span would be very short.”

To entice these young people, the researchers incorporated a social networking application. “There is essentially a microblogging chat room where these kids can exchange their experiences; so far, kids are using it and usually they talk about music, the iPhone, anything but their diabetes,” Dr. Cafazzo reported.

There is also a redeemable point system that rewards participants with iTunes for taking and reporting their blood sugar levels regularly. “The rewards mechanism appears to be working very well,” Dr. Cafazzo said.

Not surprisingly, it is because of studies like these that the health care market is seeing a large influx of companies who are putting technology to use in a growing field of healthcare communications and health-record management. At a basic level, this means using technology to manage health records and share information with a patient’s physician or other approved health care providers and caregivers ‒ including family members. At an advanced level, the possibilities are endless.

Sources: American Telemedicine Association, Medscape News, PubMed

Related articles:

Sustaining better diabetes care in remote indigenous Australian communities

A feasibility study of remote monitoring of CAPD patient’s blood pressure and blood glucose measurements via the internet

Mobile phone-based remote patient monitoring system for management of hypertension in diabetic patients

Telehealth improves diabetes self-management in an underserved community

Wake-up Call: 50% Adult Americans Face Serious Health Risk

Nearly 50 percent of all adult Americans have high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes. All conditions increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Diabetics, of course, are at greater risk of having the other two conditions as well, and heart disease is one of the most common complications resulting from poor diabetes management.

A report released online Monday by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said nearly 13 percent Americans have at least two of the conditions and three percent have all three, sharply increasing their risk. Of those with at least one condition, 15 per cent have not been diagnosed.

(Diabetes affects 8.3 percent of Americans of all ages, and 11.3 percent of adults aged 20 and older, according to the National Diabetes Fact Sheet for 2011. About 27 percent of those with diabetes—7 million Americans—do not know they have the disease. Prediabetes affects a whopping 35 percent of adults aged 20 and older.)

“The number that really surprises me is the penetration of these conditions into the U.S. population,” said Dr. Clyde Yancy of Baylor University Medical Center, president of the American Heart Association. “When that number is nearly 50%, that’s a huge wake-up call.” It means there are a large number of people “who think they are healthy…but are working under a terrible misconception.”

The data come from the ongoing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which releases new figures every two years. The survey consists of interviews conducted in participants’ homes, standardized physical examinations given to some participants and laboratory tests using blood and urine specimens.

“This report is so timely and important because it crystallizes exactly what the burden is,” Yancy said. “It tells us the challenge we now face that could stress and potentially defeat any healthcare system we could come up with.”

Personal responsibility plays a big role in creating these three health problems, he said. “This trio begins with a quartet of smoking, a junk diet, physical inactivity and obesity. Those are all things we can do something about.”

Though researchers should be able to use the new data to plan interventions, “the main thing here is for people to be aware that they have these conditions and know that lifestyle modifications and medications can control them and reduce their risk for cardiovascular disease,” said epidemiologist Cheryl D. Fryar of the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, one of the study’s authors.

Untreated Diabetes: Millions Risk Early Death Because of Poor Diagnosis and Ineffective Treatment

• In the United States alone, nearly 90% of adult diabetics – more than 16 million adults aged 35 and older – have blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol that are not treated effectively, meaning they do not meet widely accepted targets for healthy levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

• In Mexico, 99% of adult diabetics are not meeting those targets.

• Up to 62% of diabetic men in Thailand are undiagnosed or untreated for diabetes. This translates to more than 663,000 people in that country.

A new study, published in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization‘s March edition, has found that millions of people worldwide may be at risk of early death from diabetes and related cardiovascular illnesses because of poor diagnosis and ineffective treatment.

The objective of the study was to examine the effectiveness of the health system response to the challenge of diabetes across different settings and explore the inequalities in diabetes care that are attributable to socio-economic factors.

Researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, who examined diabetes diagnosis, treatment, and management in the US, Thailand, Mexico, Colombia, England, Iran, and Scotland have come to the conclusion that “too many people are not being properly diagnosed with diabetes and related cardiovascular risk factors. Those who are diagnosed aren’t being effectively treated. This is a huge missed opportunity to lower the burden of disease in both rich and poor countries.”

The percentage of diabetics in the seven countries studied who are reaching International Diabetes Federation treatment goals for blood glucose, blood pressure, and serum cholesterol is very low, ranging from 1% to 12%. The researchers conclude there are many missed opportunities to reduce the burden of diabetes through improved control of blood glucose levels and improved diagnosis and treatment of arterial hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia.

In an attempt to determine the cause of the low rates of diagnosis and effective treatment, researchers examined a range of factors and were surprised to find that “no large socio-economic inequalities were noted in the management of individuals with diabetes, financial access to care was a strong predictor of diagnosis and management.”

“We were very surprised to see that wealth did not have a big impact on diagnosis and treatment,” said Dr. Emmanuela Gakidou, the paper’s lead author and an Associate Professor of Global Health at IHME. “And in the three countries where we had health insurance data, we thought it was noteworthy that health insurance actually played a much bigger role than wealth, especially in the US.”

In the US, people who had insurance were twice as likely to be diagnosed and effectively treated for diabetes as those who did not have insurance.

The researchers said the findings underscore the need for countries to tackle the growing problem of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases in part by gathering better data.

“We don’t have enough data from actual physical exams to accurately document the trend in most countries,” said Dr. Rafael Lozano, a co-author on the paper and a Professor of Global Health at IHME. “We looked at surveys from nearly 200 countries and only could find data on blood glucose, cholesterol, or blood pressure in seven. We hope that in the build-up to the UN Summit on NCDs this September, countries will make a commitment to more surveys that take blood samples from a representative percentage of the population.”

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IHME researchers gathered data and performed their analysis in collaboration with researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine; the Harvard Global Equity Initiative; the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico; and Ramathibodi Hospital in Thailand.

For more information on this study visit the IHME website

Brazil to Provide Free Hypertension, Diabetes Medicine

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said on Thursday that the government will provide free medicine for diabetes and hypertension to Brazilians, starting from mid-February, reports Xinhua.

The measure is part of the Popular Pharmacy Program, which grants discounts to over 100 types of medication for diseases, such as Parkinson, osteoporosis, glaucoma and asthma.

The government will cover 90 percent of the expense of the medicine and the patient pays the rest.

In order to receive the free medicine, patients must show the doctor’s prescription and identification at the pharmacy.

The free medicine was one of Rousseff’s campaign promises. According to the president, offering free medicine is a step forward to eradicate poverty in Brazil.

The Health Ministry estimated that over 33 million people, or 17 percent of Brazil’s population suffer from hypertension and some 7.5 million suffer from diabetes. The two diseases are responsible for 34 percent of the deaths in the country.

Limiting Salt Lowers Blood Pressure and Health Risks in Diabetes

For patients living with diabetes, reducing the amount of salt in their daily diet is key to warding off serious threats to their health, a new review of studies finds.

In the Cochrane review, the authors evaluated 13 studies with 254 adults who had either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. For an average duration of one week, participants were restricted to large reduction in their daily salt intake to see how the change would affect their blood pressure.

“We were surprised to find so few studies of modest, practical salt reduction in diabetes where patients are at high cardiovascular risk and stand much to gain from interventions that reduce blood pressure,” said lead reviewer Rebecca Suckling. “However, despite this, there was a consistent reduction in blood pressure when salt intake was reduced.”

Suckling is part of the Blood Pressure Unit at St. George’s Hospital Medical School, in London.

The review appears in the current issue of The Cochrane Library, a publication of The Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization that evaluates research in all aspects of health care. Systematic reviews draw evidence-based conclusions about medical practice after considering both the content and quality of existing trials on a topic.

Patients with diabetes need to be extra cautious to maintain their blood pressure at an acceptable range of less than 130/80 mmHg. However, in the 2003-2004 period, 75 percent of adults with diabetes had blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/80 mmHg or used prescription hypertension medications, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA).

High salt intake is a major cause for increased blood pressure and, in those with diabetes, elevated blood pressure can lead to more serious health problems, including stroke, heart attack and diabetic kidney disease. The ADA also reports that diabetic kidney disease is the leading cause of chronic kidney disease, accounting for 44 percent of new cases in 2005.

In the Cochrane review, the participants’ average salt intake was restricted by 11.9 grams a day for those with type 1 diabetes and by 7.3 grams a day for those with type 2.

The reviewers wrote that reducing salt intake by 8.5 grams a day could lower patients’ blood pressure by 7/3 mmHg. This was true for patients with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The reviewers noted that this reduction in blood pressure is similar to that found from taking blood pressure medication.

Suckling acknowledged that studies in the review only lasted for a week and that the type of salt restriction probably would not be manageable for longer periods.

“The majority of studies were small and only of a short duration with large changes in salt intake,” she said. “These studies are easy to perform and give information on the short-term effects of salt reduction.”

However, Suckling said, the review also found that in studies greater than two weeks, where salt was reduced by a more achievable and sustainable amount of 4.5 grams a day, blood pressure was reduced by 6/4 mmHg.

Diabetes specialist Todd Brown, M.D., of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at Johns Hopkins University, said that practicing low-salt diets of these types is quite challenging for most patients with diabetes even though they know the health risks.

“The effects of salt on blood pressure are well known to health professionals and most patients, but what is less well known is where the salt comes from in our diet,” Brown said.

“The overwhelming majority comes from the processed foods that we eat,” he said. “If we are going to realize the benefits of sodium reduction on blood pressure and other health outcomes, we should focus less on the salt shaker and more on what we buy in the supermarket and at chain restaurants.”

Thank you Health Behavior News Service

Treating High Blood Pressure With Radio Waves

Researchers at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne will this week publish the results of a world-first trial of a new minimally invasive procedure for the treatment of difficult-to-treat high blood pressure by using radio waves.

In the first international randomized controlled trial of the technology, sympathetic nerves leading into and out of the kidneys were silenced using radio frequency energy emitted by a catheter device inserted into the renal arteries through the groin.

The Symplicity Catheter System – the device used to perform renal denervation – has now received TGA approval in Australia and it is anticipated that it will be available for routine clinical application within the next 12 months.

Known as ‘renal denervation’, this minimally invasive day procedure has been proven to be extremely effective in reducing blood pressure in patients with uncontrolled blood pressure – that is, blood pressure that is not responsive to medication.

Research has shown that each incremental 20/10 mmHg increase of blood pressure above normal levels is associated with a doubling of cardiovascular mortality over a 10 year period and that reducing systolic blood pressure by as little as 5 mmHg can reduce the risk of stroke by almost 30 per cent.

Professor Murray Esler, Associate Director, Cardiovascular Neurosciences at Baker IDI was the Chief Investigator for the international trial which involved 106 randomized patients in Europe and Australia across 24 separate sites.

In a presentation to the American Heart Association this week, Professor Esler will discuss the results of the trial. The key finding, which will be published simultaneously in The Lancet, was that the procedure resulted in an average blood pressure reduction of 33/11mmHg when compared to the control group that did not undergo the procedure.

The procedure is highly effective with 84 per cent of patients who underwent renal denervation experiencing a reduction in systolic blood pressure by more than 10 mmHg. The study also found that the therapy was safe, with no serious device or procedure-related events, no cardiovascular complications and no kidney-related complications.

Hypertension is the biggest killer worldwide with around 7.1 million deaths per year directly attributed to uncontrolled blood pressure. In Australia, between 25 to 30 per cent of the adult population is affected by high blood pressure and about half of those patients’ blood pressure is not controlled to target through medication.

Commenting on the trial, Professor Esler said; “Combined with findings from the earlier Symplicity HTN-1 study, which demonstrated the safety and durability of the therapy out to two years, these results, show that this procedure has the potential to become a truly revolutionary treatment with the scope to significantly impact the standard of care for the large number of patients suffering from uncontrolled blood pressure.”

Principle investigator Professor Markus Schlaich of Baker IDI said; “Hypertension often has no symptoms yet significantly increases a patient’s risk of heart attack, stroke or death.

“We know the renal sympathetic nerves play a crucial role in blood pressure elevation and this study proves they can be specifically targeted with our novel approach. Renal denervation is a safe, quick and minimally invasive procedure that leads to a substantial and sustained blood pressure reduction without major side effects. ”

In addition to hypertension, the therapy may hold promise for treating heart failure, diabetes and chronic kidney disease, conditions also characterised by elevated sympathetic nerve activity.

About the Symplicity Catheter System
The Symplicity Catheter System is used to perform a procedure termed renal denervation (RDN). In a straightforward endovascular procedure, similar to an angioplasty, the physician inserts the small, flexible Symplicity Catheter into the femoral artery in the upper thigh and threads it into the renal artery. Once in place within the renal artery, the device delivers low-power RF energy to deactivate the surrounding renal sympathetic nerves. This, in turn, reduces hyper-activation of the sympathetic nervous system, which is often the cause of chronic hypertension. The one-time procedure aims to permanently reduce blood pressure. RDN may also allow patients to reduce or eliminate the need for lifelong antihypertensive medications.

For more information, visit http://www.ardian.com/patients/symplicity.shtml

SOURCE: Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute

Diabetes: Understanding Proteinuria

Proteinuria—also called albuminuria or urine albumin—is a condition in which urine contains an abnormal amount of protein. Albumin is the main protein in the blood. Proteins are the building blocks for all body parts, including muscles, bones, hair, and nails.

Proteins in the blood also perform a number of important functions. They protect the body from infection, help blood clot, and keep the right amount of fluid circulating throughout the body.

As blood passes through healthy kidneys, they filter out the waste products and leave in the things the body needs, like albumin and other proteins. Most proteins are too big to pass through the kidneys’ filters into the urine. However, proteins from the blood can leak into the urine when the filters of the kidney, called glomeruli, are damaged.

Proteinuria is a sign of chronic kidney disease (CKD), which can result from diabetes, high blood pressure, and diseases that cause inflammation in the kidneys. For this reason, testing for albumin in the urine is part of a routine medical assessment for everyone. Kidney disease is sometimes called renal disease.

If CKD progresses, it can lead to end-stage renal disease (ESRD), when the kidneys fail completely. A person with ESRD must receive a kidney transplant or regular blood-cleansing treatments called dialysis.

Who is at risk for proteinuria?
People with diabetes, hypertension, or certain family backgrounds are at risk for proteinuria. Indeed, diabetes is the leading cause of ESRD. In both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, albumin in the urine is one of the first signs of deteriorating kidney function. As kidney function declines, the amount of albumin in the urine increases.

Another risk factor for developing proteinuria is hypertension, or high blood pressure. Proteinuria in a person with high blood pressure is an indicator of declining kidney function. If the hypertension is not controlled, the person can progress to full kidney failure.

What are the signs and symptoms of proteinuria?
Proteinuria has no signs or symptoms in the early stages. Large amounts of protein in the urine may cause it to look foamy in the toilet. Also, because protein has left the body, the blood can no longer soak up enough fluid, so swelling in the hands, feet, abdomen, or face may occur. This swelling is called edema. These are signs of large protein loss and indicate that kidney disease has progressed. Laboratory testing is the only way to find out whether protein is in a person’s urine before extensive kidney damage occurs.

Several health organizations recommend regular urine checks for people at risk for CKD. A 1996 study sponsored by the US National Institutes of Health determined that proteinuria is the best predictor of progressive kidney failure in people with type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends regular urine testing for proteinuria for people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The National Kidney Foundation recommends that routine checkups include testing for excess protein in the urine, especially for people in high-risk groups.

What are the tests for proteinuria?
Until recently, an accurate protein measurement required a 24-hour urine collection. In a 24-hour collection, the patient urinates into a container, which is kept refrigerated between trips to the bathroom. The patient is instructed to begin collecting urine after the first trip to the bathroom in the morning. Every drop of urine for the rest of the day is to be collected in the container. The next morning, the patient adds the first urination after waking and the collection is complete.

In recent years, researchers have found that a single urine sample can provide the needed information. In the newer technique, the amount of albumin in the urine sample is compared with the amount of creatinine, a waste product of normal muscle breakdown. The measurement is called a urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (UACR).

A urine sample containing more than 30 milligrams of albumin for each gram of creatinine (30 mg/g) is a warning that there may be a problem. If the laboratory test exceeds 30 mg/g, another UACR test should be done 1 to 2 weeks later. If the second test also shows high levels of protein, the person has persistent proteinuria, a sign of declining kidney function, and should have additional tests to evaluate kidney function.

What additional tests for kidney disease may be needed?
Tests that measure the amount of creatinine in the blood will show whether a person’s kidneys are removing wastes efficiently. Having too much creatinine in the blood is a sign that a person has kidney damage. The doctor can use the creatinine measurement to estimate how efficiently the kidneys are filtering the blood. This calculation is called the estimated glomerular filtration rate, or eGFR. CKD is present when the eGFR is less than 60 milliliters per minute (mL/min).

What should a person with proteinuria do?
If a person has diabetes, hypertension, or both, the first goal of treatment will be to control blood glucose, also called blood sugar, and blood pressure. People with diabetes should test their blood glucose often, follow a healthy eating plan, take prescribed medicines, and get the amount of exercise recommended by their doctor.

A person with diabetes and high blood pressure may need a medicine from a class of drugs called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or a similar class called angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). These drugs have been found to protect kidney function even more than other drugs that provide the same level of blood pressure control. Many patients with proteinuria but without hypertension may also benefit from ACE inhibitors or ARBs. The American Diabetes Association and the American College of Cardiology recommend that people with diabetes keep their blood pressure below 130/80.

People who have high blood pressure and proteinuria, but not diabetes, also benefit from taking an ACE inhibitor or ARB. The Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure recommends that people with kidney disease keep their blood pressure below 130/80. To maintain this target, a person may need to take a combination of two or more blood pressure medicines. A doctor may also prescribe a diuretic in addition to an ACE inhibitor or ARB. Diuretics are also called “water pills” because they help a person urinate and get rid of excess fluid in the body.

In addition to blood glucose and blood pressure control, the National Kidney Foundation recommends restricting dietary salt and protein. A doctor may refer a patient to a dietitian to help develop and follow a healthy eating plan.

Points to Remember
Proteinuria is a condition in which urine contains a detectable amount of protein.

Proteinuria is a sign of chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Groups at risk for proteinuria include people with diabetes or hypertension, and people who have a family history of kidney disease.

Proteinuria may have no signs or symptoms. Laboratory testing is the only way to find out whether protein is in a person’s urine.

Several health organizations recommend regular checks for proteinuria so kidney disease can be detected and treated before it progresses.
A person with diabetes, hypertension, or both should work to control blood glucose and blood pressure.

Source: National Kidney & Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC)

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