What's good for your heart is also good for your kidneys, according to recommendations from the Texas Campaign for Kidney Health, a collaborative of health care stakeholders seeking to prevent kidney disease in the Lone Star State.

"Controlling your blood pressure, especially if you have diabetes, is a critical step in protecting your kidneys from disease," says James D. Lindley, MD, clinical professor of medicine with the University of Texas Medical Branch, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Nephrology.

Lindley serves as a nephrologist consultant for the Campaign, which includes the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) End Stage Renal Disease Prevention Program, the National Kidney Foundation, the Texas Renal Coalition, the ESRD Network of Texas and TMF Health Quality Institute.

Patients often cut back on their blood pressure medicines because they feel better or because they want to save money. This could damage your long-term health, Lindley says.

"Consistently taking your blood pressure medicines keeps your blood pressure in check, which in turn lessens the chance of high blood pressure damaging your kidneys," Lindley continues. "Like the heart, the kidneys' delicate tissues are susceptible to damage from high blood pressure."

Millions of Texans have high blood pressure and diabetes, the leading risk factors for kidney disease. DSHS reports 28% of adult Texans have high blood pressure and 10% live with diabetes.

Of significant concern are the climbing rates of kidney disease among older adults, who also have higher rates of high blood pressure and diabetes. The U.S. Renal Data System (USRDS) estimates kidney disease in the general population has increased 20 to 25 percent in the last decade. However, in the more elderly Medicare population, USRDS found kidney disease doubled between 1992 and 2002, and then rose another 65 percent from 2002 to 2006.

The Campaign for Kidney Health strives to reduce the number of Texans affected by kidney disease by educating people about their risk for kidney disease. The Campaign encourages them to include screenings in their preventive health regimen.

"We have a simple message for people with high blood pressure or diabetes. Keep taking your blood pressure medicines just as your doctor ordered," says Earl Smith III, MD, medical director at TMF. "Take them the same time, every day, and keep your kidneys healthy."

TMF Health Quality Institute

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