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About a third of new cases of renal failure in USA are attributed to hypertension despite controversy about the frequency and pathology of so called hypertensive nephrosclerosis. In spite of good documentation that obesity causes renal failure and in spite of the global epidemic of obesity this diagnosis does not feature on most renal failure registries. New documentation that progressive renal failure in hypertension is linked to insulin resistance and analysis of NHANES III data which shows a strong positive significant dose–response relationship between insulin resistance and chronic kidney disease strengthen the view that so called hypertensive nephrosclerosis may be linked more closely to obesity and insulin resistance than to blood pressure. The pathology of the kidney in hypertension has changed. Studies 50 years ago did not show segmental glomerulosclerosis, which has recently been shown to be the key lesion in hypertensive nephrosclerosis. Recent documentation that this is a major mechanism of progression in hypertension together with the fact that similar segmental glomerulosclerosis is the key lesion in obesity and the metabolic syndrome suggests that these factors are more important than hypertension in renal failure attributed to hypertensive nephrosclerosis.