Kidney and bladder health

19 August 2011

Metabolic syndrome: kidney disease?

High blood pressure, high blood sugar, abdominal fat, low good cholesterol may contribute to kidney disease.

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High blood pressure, high blood sugar, abdominal fat, low good cholesterol may contribute to kidney disease. Metabolic syndrome comprises a group of medical disorders that increase people's risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and premature death when they occur together.

A patient is diagnosed with the syndrome when he or she exhibits three or more of the following characteristics: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat in the waist/abdomen, low good cholesterol, and higher levels of fatty acids (the building blocks of fat).

People with metabolic abnormalities are at increased risk of developing kidney disease, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN).

Relationship between metabolic syndrome and kidney disease

Sankar Navaneethan, MD (Cleveland Clinic) and his colleagues searched the medical literature and combined data from 11 studies examining the relationship between metabolic syndrome and kidney disease. Altogether, they included 30,416 individuals from various ethnic groups.

  • People with metabolic syndrome have a 55% increased risk of developing kidney problems, especially lower kidney function, indicative of kidney disease.
  • Individual components of metabolic syndrome are linked with the development of kidney disease.
  • Kidney disease risk increases as the number of metabolic syndrome components increases.

"Primary care physicians may need to consider using metabolic syndrome as a marker to identify patients at higher risk of developing kidney disease," said Dr Navaneethan.

Preventing and managing metabolic syndrome — through eating a healthy diet, exercising, losing excess body weight, and lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels — may help prevent kidney disease.

Previous clinical studies have examined the effects of some of these steps (such as lowering blood pressure and blood sugar) on kidney function while others (such as the effects of exercise and intentional weight loss) still need to be studied. 

(EurekAlert, August 2011)

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