Kidney Disease Increases Chance of Heart Disease

Heart Association warns that first condition puts people at high risk for second

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MONDAY, Oct. 27, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- People who suffer from chronic kidney diseases are in the highest risk group for cardiovascular disease.

So says a statement in the Oct. 27 issue of Circulation.

That increased risk applies even to people in the early stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD).

The American Heart Association (AHA) statement recommends that doctors periodically test the kidney function of people with such conditions as hypertension, diabetes and existing heart disease. Catching CKD in the early stages can delay, and possibly prevent, negative cardiovascular impact.

It's known that people being treated with dialysis for late-stage kidney disease have a 10-fold to 30-fold increased risk than the general population of dying of heart attack, heart failure or other cardiovascular problems.

CKD, defined as kidney damage lasting more than three months, is confirmed either by biopsy or by "markers" of the disease. These markers include abnormal urinary sediment, protein in the urine, abnormal imaging studies, and/or a significant decrease in the rate at which kidneys filter blood.

"What we have recognized in recent years is that patients with any form of chronic kidney disease are also at high risk of cardiovascular events," study author Dr. Mark J. Sarnak, an assistant professor of medicine at Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, says in a prepared statement.

The two most common causes of CKD are diabetes and high blood pressure, which are also risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Other potential causes of CKD include infections, genetic diseases and adverse drug reactions.

"There are a lot of people with chronic kidney disease, and it is increasing. As the population ages, there will be more diabetes and more kidney disease," Sarnak says.

He notes there are good treatments for kidney disease. That includes keeping a patient's LDL cholesterol count below 100, controlling hypertension and monitoring and treating the secondary effects of CKD, such as calcium and phosphorous abnormalities.

The AHA statement says about 20 million Americans (10.8 percent of the population) have early CKD and that number is increasing. By 2010, it's expected that, each year, more than 650,000 CKD patients in the United States will need dialysis or a kidney transplant.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about chronic kidney disease.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Oct. 27, 2003

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