Monday, April 24, 2017

Kidney Disease a Big Contributor to Heart-Related Deaths

Based on data from 188 countries at six time points between 1990 and 2013, the researchers estimated that in 2013, reduced kidney function was associated with 4% of deaths worldwide, or 2.2 million deaths.

More than half of these deaths (1.2 million) were heart-related, while nearly 1 million were caused by kidney failure, according to the report.

The findings provide new insight into the significant impact of kidney disease, also called “renal” disease, and highlight the importance of screening for kidney problems, the study authors said. “Understanding the true health impact of kidney disease on society necessitates considering cardiovascular as well as end-stage renal disease deaths and disability,” said Dr. Bernadette Thomas, of the University of Washington in Seattle. She made her remarks in a news release from the American Society of Nephrology.

The investigators also found that reduced kidney function ranked below high blood pressure, high blood sugar and overweight/obesity, but was similar to high cholesterol, as a risk factor for disability-adjusted life years (the number of years lost due to ill health, disability or early death).

The study was published April 13 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

My Take:
There is a simple blood test that is included in the CMP (comprehensive metabolic profile) called the GFR (glomerular filtration rate). This test measures kidney function. However, the interpretation of the test is often suspect.

The higher the number, the better your kidneys filter. The “medical norm” is above 60 and many labs will just report the result as “>60”. However, a test result between 60 and 89 indicates kidney damage with a mild loss of kidney function. Even a test result at 90 or above indicates kidney damage with normal function. By the time you drop below 60 you have already suffered mild to moderate loss of kidney function.

I monitor the GFR as soon as it drops to 90, using it as an indicator of both kidney health and general health. I believe that all the factors of metabolic syndrome mentioned above in this study have a direct effect on the GFR and kidney health.

With early intervention, it is easy to improve the GFR with nutritional supplementation, diet and lifestyle changes. However, most physicians just look at the medical norm of <60 40s="" 50s="" and="" as="" b="" ignore="" in="" many="" results="" test="" the="" well.="" will="">The Bottom Line:
Kidney health is intimately tied to cardiovascular health and diabetes. Pay attention to your GFR even if your PCP (primary care physician) doesn’t. Make sure you drink a least a half-gallon of clean water every day and seek nutritional advice if your GFR drops to 90 or lower.

Source: April 13, 2017 National Institutes of Health

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