State Legislator Urges You to Speak Up. Your Health May Depend On It.

Frank TurnerAs a member of the Maryland State Legislature, Delegate Frank Turner has learned to become a better listener and to ask lots of questions. It was this training that inspired him to use his skills on the personal front and begin asking questions about his own health issues. Turner, who suffered from severe high blood pressure, was determined to find an answer.

“My doctor just couldn’t get it under control. He couldn’t seem to find the right mix of medication to lower my blood pressure,” Turner said.

Although Turner didn’t feel any symptoms, he knew his hypertension could lead to other major health problems. And so he found himself at Johns Hopkins seeing a cardiologist. Over the course of six months, the cardiologist got his blood pressure under control and recommended he see a kidney specialist, or nephrologist. The kidney specialist tested his kidney function and found that his kidneys weren’t functioning properly.

Turner learned that he suffers from polycystic kidney disease, an inherited disease, and so, he’s instructed all his kids to get their kidney function checked regularly as well.

“I’m adopted so I didn’t know my own medical history, but I’m going to make sure my kids have all the information they need to be vigilant about their health,” he said.

With his diagnosis, his doctors also prescribed another kidney-protective blood pressure medication and today, with constant monitoring, Turner’s health is stable–both blood pressure and kidney function. Turner, who never took off a day of work throughout his health ordeal, made some sensible lifestyle changes on his own as well.

“In addition to the medication, I lost 30 pounds which has made a tremendous difference in how I feel and I believe, is related to my stable blood pressure and kidney function,” he said. “Doctors have told me that obesity makes the kidneys work harder so I’m definitely going to do my part to keep the weight off.”

He doesn’t know what the future brings, but for now, Turner is grateful to be enjoying good health.

“My case isn’t unusual. Kidney disease often gives no warning signs. That’s why people have to connect the dots themselves,” he said. “If you have high blood pressure–one of the leading causes of kidney disease–don’t wait. Test your kidneys. Early detection can make a big difference to your health.”

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