Check Young Kidney Patients' Hearts

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture
Check Young Kidney Patients' Hearts
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A Beaumont Hospitals researcher is urging heart screenings for young and middle-aged people with chronic kidney disease, based on his research among more than 31,000 participants that is published in the August edition of the American Heart Journal.

The research study was led by Dr. Peter McCullough, consultant cardiologist and chief of Beaumont's division of Nutrition and Preventive Medicine, who serves as the vice chairman for the National Kidney Foundation Kidney Early Evaluation Program, a nationwide screening effort for kidney disease. This study is believed to be the first of its kind making a connection between heart disease and chronic kidney disease in younger people.

The prevalence of premature heart attack, stroke or death for those in the study with chronic kidney disease was more than twice as high as for those without kidney disease (9.2 percent vs. 4.1 percent, respectively).The 31,417 participants in the study ranged in age from 34 to 56, with an average age of 45. About 21 percent had kidney disease.

"Chronic kidney disease is an independent predictor of heart attack, stroke and death among men younger than 55 and women younger than 65," says Dr. McCullough. "Our research suggests the biologic changes that occur with kidney failure promote heart disease at an accelerated rate that cannot be fully explained by conventional risk factors or older age."

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The link between heart disease and chronic kidney disease among the elderly is well established.

Dr. McCullough offers some explanations for why chronic kidney disease causes, accelerates or worsens hardening of the arteries and heart disease:

* many of the risk factors for the two diseases are similar (e.g., diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking)

* kidney disease causes changes in the blood that may make it clog arteries at a faster rate than normal

Participants were recruited from August 2000 through December 2005 from 48 National Kidney Foundation affiliates representing 50 states and 1,245 screening events. The study was limited to those with diabetes or hypertension or with a family history of diabetes, hypertension or kidney disease because the Kidney Foundations limits screenings to people with those characteristics.

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