Patients with kidney disease should be encouraged to improve their heart health, suggest the findings of a new study published online in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
When the kidneys fail completely to work it is termed end-stage kidney disease (ESRD), and this usually comes after chronic kidney disease (CKD). It has been observed that people with poor kidney health tend to develop heart problems. But is the opposite also true? Does heart health affect kidney health?
AdvertisementTo find out, Paul Muntner and his colleagues at University of Alabama at Birmingham investigated the link between Life's Simple 7 components of heart health with both ESRD incidence and consequent death among 3093 participants with stage 3 or 4 chronic kidney disease.
The American Heart Association's Life's Simple 7 is the guidelines to key health factors and behaviors that keep your heart healthy, lower your risks of heart disease and stroke, and improve your quality of life. The guidelines include the following seven steps-
1. Get active, that is, increase your physical activity.
2. Control your cholesterol by eating foods low in cholesterol, trans fats and saturated fats.
3. Eat better by including foods high in whole grain fiber, lean protein, and a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.
4. Manage your blood pressure.
5. Lose weight if you are overweight or obese. Bring your BMI (body mass index) down below 25. If your BMI is 30.0 or higher, you are at significant risk for heart health problems.
6. Reduce blood sugar by reducing consumption of simple sugars found in sugary desserts and sugary beverages and also by exercising regularly (moderate intensity aerobic exercises are fine).
7. Stop smoking. Do whatever it takes to quit.
The four-year study, where 160 participants developed kidney failure and 610 participants died, showed interesting results-
• Compared with individuals who had zero or one of the Life's Simple 7 components in the "ideal" range, those with two, three, and four ideal factors had progressively lower risks for kidney failure.
• People with four ideal factors cut their risk by nearly half.
• No participant with five to seven ideal factors developed kidney failure.
• Those having four ideal factors cut their risk of dying by more than 40 percent.
The authors concluded that maintaining a heart healthy lifestyle may also help protect chronic kidney disease patients from developing kidney failure and dying prematurely.
"A favorable cardiovascular risk profile among individuals with CKD associates with a reduced risk for ESRD and mortality," they reported but they were not sure whether the severity of kidney disease disproves this theory or mediates this association and suggested further investigation.
"This study highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, not just on patients' risk for developing heart disease but also for the prevention of kidney failure," said Dr. Muntner.
"This study provides an opportunity to reconsider and reevaluate our approach to modifying health behaviors and factors in individuals living with CKD," commented Andrew Chin and Lorien Dalrymple from University of California, in an accompanying editorial.