A new study says that even a moderately impaired kidney function can lead to poor growth, delayed puberty, and heart problems in children.
Therapies for these conditions might help slow the progression of kidney disease in children, the researchers say.
Susan Furth, MD, PhD, of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and her colleagues studied 586 children with chronic kidney disease.
They found that poor growth, delayed puberty, metabolic problems (such as pH and electrolyte imbalances), and high blood pressure often occurred in children with only mildly or moderately impaired kidneys.
Even when children took medications to treat some of these conditions, they were more common as kidney function decreased.
"We were hoping to identify risk factors for CKD progression and see if these can be targeted to slow the decline of kidney function and prevent its complications," said Dr. Furth.
"Our findings suggest that more aggressive interventions to improve blood pressure and metabolic abnormalities may be areas where interventions could slow chronic kidney disease progression and decrease the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in children and young adults with chronic kidney disease.
The next step will be to design clinical trials of these interventions based on our findings."
The study will be published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology.