A number of risk factors associated with the development of diabetic nephropathy has been described, such as elevated blood pressure, poor metabolic control, hyperlipidemia, and smoking. Abnormal albuminuria also is associated with progression of renal disease, but has until recently been considered principally a marker of disease activity rather than a risk factor. This article discusses the role of elevated blood pressure versus abnormal albuminuria in a genesis and prediction of renal disease in diabetes. Controversy exists regarding parental disposition to hypertension and early blood pressure elevation in the course of diabetes, but all studies agree that elevated blood pressure—in the presence of abnormal albuminuria—constitutes a risk factor. Because abnormal albuminuria is associated with progression disease, it may itself be a risk factor because increased macromolecular traffic over the glomerular membrane may produce glomerulopathy. Problems related to blood pressure measurement are important, and 24-h recordings of blood pressure may be recommended in some situations. Regarding renal structure, preliminary results suggest that structural lesions precede blood pressure elevation. The solid end point for evaluation of renal disease progression is the fall rate of GFR, with abnormal albuminuria as an intermediate end point, also in drug trials. Abnormal albuminuria may constitute a new indication for antihypertensive treatment, being, as it is, a clear indicator of organ damage, whereas elevated blood pressure with normal AER may not increase risk substantially.

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