Virginia Identified Alarming Rates Of Kidney Disease, High Blood Pressure

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
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UVA nephrologist Rasheed Balogun, M.D. reports that more than a third of the 97 people who attended the March 14 free community health screening in Charlottesville learned for the first time that they have either high blood pressure or kidney disease.

Many others with previously diagnosed blood pressure or kidney problems discovered that their current medications are not controlling their conditions. All were advised to obtain follow-up evaluation.

The five-hour event was the third annual screening co-sponsored by the UVA Division of Nephrology and the National Kidney Foundation of the Virginias in conjunction with National Kidney Month and World Kidney Day. Attendees came from Charlottesville and surrounding counties, including Albemarle, Greene and Louisa.

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While pleased with the screening's success, Dr. Balogun remains concerned about others at high risk for kidney disease who did not attend. "Because we found problems in such a high percentage of those screened, I worry that many more people in our community have chronic kidney disease (CKD) and don't know it. CKD can progress to an advanced stage without outward symptoms, placing people's health and lives at-risk," he says.

According to Dr. Balogun, three groups of people have the greatest risk of developing kidney disease and should arrange to be screened annually. They are:

* Those with a personal or family history of diabetes, high blood pressure and polycystic kidney disease;

* Members of four ethnic groups - African-Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders and Native Americans;

* Those who are overweight or obese.

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