While generalized atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries and blood vessels) has been increasingly recognized as a cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), a recent study of over 8,500 patients discovered that this same disease also affects renal function in those who do not suffer from ESRD. Together with blood pressure, age, and body mass index, different cardiovascular risk factors can have varied impact on kidney function.
"Studies show that the mechanisms underlying renal function abnormalities in the general population are limited," states Paul E. De Jong, corresponding author of the study. "As presently many subjects present with ESRD without known renal diseases, and the prevalence of obesity and generalized atherosclerosis are increasing, we need to know which factors should be detected and should be monitored under treatment."
Findings show that albuminuria, excessive presence of the protein albumin in the urine often associated with diabetes and kidney disease, might be a such factor to monitor, even more so than blood pressure and cholesterol.
The International Society of Nephrology advocates proactive albuminuria screening for early detection of renal impairment and cardiovascular risk. According to the Society, over 60 million people worldwide have some degree of chronic kidney disease and the costs of kidney failure, heart failure and diabetes account for the majority of health budgets today.