Top Killers Triggered by Kidney Disease

People with kidney disease – itself a serious health risk – are also at higher risk of heart atta

The 26 million American adults with chronic kidney disease are at significantly higher risk of experiencing a heart attack or stroke, according to new results presented in this month’s American Journal of Kidney Diseases, the publication of the National Kidney Foundation, and released today at the foundation’s 2008 Spring Clinical Meetings, held here.

“The study found that people with kidney disease were 34% more likely to have experienced heart attack or stroke,” says Peter A. McCullough, MD, MPH, lead author and Vice Chair of the National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Early Evaluation Program. “People who are diagnosed with kidney disease need to take extra precautions to protect themselves from these other, life-threatening consequences of their disease.”

In addition, “these findings reaffirm the importance of identifying kidney disease at its early stages, when treatment is most effective, to prevent further long-term complications,” McCullough adds.

The results add to the already long list of findings gleaned from the NKF’s Kidney Early Evaluation Program (KEEP), which screens people with the most common risk factors for kidney disease – diabetes, high blood pressure, or a family history of chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Over the course of CKD, the kidneys become less able to perform vital functions that help maintain overall health, including filtering wastes and excess fluids from the blood.

Previous research has suggested that CKD and cardiovascular disease might be linked – showing, for instance, that kidney function influences the development of an irregular heart rhythm.

During the study, researchers reviewed data collected from nearly 70,000 people who participated in KEEP, and another 17,000 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which conducts nationally representative cross-sectional surveys of the U.S. population.

The authors found that more than one-quarter of KEEP participants had CKD, along with 15% of those screened by the NHANES. More than 15% of people with CKD who participated in either survey said they had experienced either heart attack or stroke. Only 8% of KEEP participants and 4% of NHANES participants who did not have CKD reported a history of either stroke or heart attack.

People who participated in KEEP were more likely to die during a short follow-up period.

“These findings confirm the risks associated with CKD – a higher likelihood of heart attack, stroke, and death,” says  McCullough.

The National Kidney Foundation is dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation.

Primary Sponsor of KEEP is Amgen, Inc. Associate Sponsors are Abbott Renal Care and Genzyme and KEEP contributing sponsors are Novartis and Ortho Biotech Chronic Care.

For more information on kidney disease or a schedule of free KEEP screenings, visit www.kidney.org

Posted under: Research Studies

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