A device that uses ultrasound to ease overactive nerves in the kidneys may also help lower blood pressure. A study found that it lowered daytime ambulatory blood pressure by an average of 8.5 points in middle-aged adults with high blood pressure. The study had 500 people with varying hypertension levels and medication use, and the results were “almost identical.” That makes it very promising.
High blood pressure can lead to serious heart problems and kidney damage. One-third of people with high blood pressure cannot control the situation with medication, weight loss or low-salt diets. For those people, more interventions are needed.
“Renal ultrasound could be offered to patients who are unable to get their blood pressure under control after trying lifestyle changes and drug therapy, before these events occur,” Dr. Ajay Kirtane, professor of medicine at Columbia Univ. and co-leader of the study.
Doctors believe overactive nerves in the kidneys are one cause of high blood pressure. While medications for blood pressure attack the problem on many fronts, none address the nerves in the kidneys. By targeting the overactive nerves directly, they may lower blood pressure in a different way.
People in the study tolerated the treatment well, and positive results were seen after about a month. It is being evaluated by the FDA. It would be prescribed to people alongside medication and lifestyle changes, not in place of them.
This is heartening news. All too often, when medication and lifestyle changes don’t fix a problem, there aren’t other options. This new treatment could help people before serious kidney damage, and heart problems occur. This would help people who aren’t seeing results from just meds and lifestyle changes.
“Once the device is available, we envision recommending it to patients who have tried other therapies first. The hope is that by controlling blood pressure, we might be able to prevent kidney damage and other effects of uncontrolled blood pressure,” Dr. Kirtane said.
Hopefully, the evaluations go well, and the FDA clears it so that it can go into use. It could be a game-changer for people with blood pressure concerns. It can be frustrating to lose weight, change your diet, take medication and not see results. With this new treatment, people could be seeing great results soon!