Risk factors for chronic kidney disease are present decades before diagnosis

June 26, 2014, American Society of Nephrology

Risk factors for chronic kidney disease (CKD) are present and identifiable 30 years before diagnosis, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). The findings suggest avenues for future research to determine whether certain early interventions can prevent future kidney disease.

Approximately 60 million people globally have CKD. Caroline S. Fox, MD MPH, Gearoid McMahon, MB, BCh (National Heart Lung and Blood Institute's Framingham Heart Study and the Center for Population Studies), and their colleagues investigated whether CKD risk factors might be present decades before the diagnosis of CKD. "One of the benefits of the Framingham Heart Study is that we have a very long duration of follow-up. As a result, we are able to look far back in time prior to when individuals develop a disease to examine their risk factors," said Dr. Fox.

The researchers identified 441 new cases of CKD among participants of the Framingham Heart Study, and they matched them with 882 controls who did not develop CKD. Those who ultimately developed CKD were 76% more likely to have had hypertension, 71% more likely to have been obese, and 43% more likely to have had higher triglycerides 30 years before CKD diagnosis. They were also 38% more likely to have had hypertension, 35% more likely to have had higher triglyceride levels, and nearly 3-times more likely to have had diabetes 20 years before CKD . The more risk factors an individual had in the past, the more likely they were to develop CKD.

"This research shows that these risk factors are present long before the disease is diagnosed. This is important because it suggests that we should be addressing these earlier in life to potentially prevent future disease," said Dr. McMahon.

Explore further: Prenatal risk factors may put children at risk of developing kidney disease

More information: The article, entitled "Mid-Adulthood Risk Factor Profiles for CKD," will appear online at jasn.asnjournals.org/ on June 26, 2014.

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