Image of Kathryn Foti, Ph.D.

An estimated 24 million Americans with chronic kidney disease are candidates for intensive blood pressure control under new guidelines from the global nonprofit Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes.

The new recommendations change the systolic target to 120 mm Hg — down from 130 mm Hg — and would affect an estimated 69% of chronic kidney disease patients in the United States, according to an accompanying study by Johns Hopkins University. That’s approximately seven million more people who could benefit from lowering their blood pressure compared with the number under the previous systolic target. 

“This is a major update of an influential set of guidelines for chronic kidney disease patients, and it is coming out against a backdrop of worsening blood pressure control in the U.S.,” said study lead Kathryn Foti, Ph.D. 

At the time of the 2015-18 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 14 million U.S. adults with chronic kidney disease were not taking blood-pressure lowering medicines, she noted.

“Controlling blood pressure is particularly important for the one in seven people in the United States with chronic kidney disease,” said co-author and epidemiologist Josef Coresh, M.D., Ph.D. Intensive lowering to the new guideline levels could have the additional benefit of reducing cardiovascular disease among this group, he added.

The new guidelines and accompanying study were published Feb. 18 in the journal Kidney International.