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Kidney, Heart Disease Linked

All by itself, chronic kidney disease increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, even among people with early kidney disease and after considering other risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, according to a pair of studies.

How one disease is linked to another, one expert says, merely reinforces "the importance of early detection of chronic kidney disease, not only to slow progression to [kidney failure] but also in this case to identify risk factors for cardiovascular disease."

The researchers in one study found when kidney function dropped, the risk of death, cardiovascular events such as heart disease and stroke, and hospitalization increased. The increased risk of related cariovascular disease events ranged from 43 percent in those whose kidney function was from 45-59 to 343 percent in those whose kidney function was less than 15

A second study found death rates ranging from 14.1 percent in patients whose kidney function was at least 75 to 45.5 percent in those whose kidney function was less than 45. Researchers attributed the increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease in part to complications of kidney disease, including anemia, oxidative stress, changes in calcium and phosphate regulation, inflammation and conditions promoting clotting.

The researchers also suggest that other kidney-related factors such as protein in the urine and elevated blood levels of both homocysteine and uric acid may increase the risk of CVD and death.

The link is pretty obvious: Cariovascular disease accounts for half of all deaths among people with kidney failure.

Science Daily September 29, 2004

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