A new study shows kidney patients have far more to be concerned about than only their kidneys. The American Heart Association-sponsored study shows people with chronic kidney disease are in the highest risk group for heart disease. Doctors say the most surprising finding was that this also applies to people who are in the very early stages of kidney disease.
Doctors have known patients in end-stage renal disease have a greater risk of heart attacks. Researchers from Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston say their concern is for the 20 million Americans who have early kidney disease. That group along with the number of people with advanced kidney disease is alarming. The number of people with kidney failure treated by dialysis is expected to surpass 650,000 by the year 2010.
From these findings, the researchers urge all doctors to be aware that kidney patients fall into the highest risk category for cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association also recommends physicians periodically test the kidney function of people with certain conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes and existing heart disease. From there, treatment can be started early. Mark Sarnak, M.D., co-author of the study, is quoted as saying, "There are some very good treatments for kidney disease, and fortunately, there isn't a medication that is good for the kidney that is bad for the heart."
They also say more research is needed. Specifically, the study authors are calling for randomized controlled studies of treatments for heart disease in chronic kidney disease patients.