This Morning: Dr Chris discusses heart disease
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Kidney disease increases the risk of dying from heart disease, according to a meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. A side effect of chronic kidney disease causes the build up of calcium artery that supplies the gut organs with blood. This can be detected early on x-ray or other type of scan, and signal a risk of heart disease. Lead researcher Associate Professor Josh Lewis said: “If we can identify this condition sooner, people can make lifestyle changes and start preventative treatments earlier, which could potentially save many lives in the future.”
The study examined 52 smaller studies looking at both kidney disease and calcification of the abdominal aorta.
The level of calcification correlated to increasing risk of suffering a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack.
Chronic kidney disease compounded this risk.
They also found an increase in all cause mortality, where people were more likely to die from conditions other than heart disease.
The researchers hope that making clinicians aware of this early warning sign might help to catch at risk people sooner.
Associate Professor Josh Lewis said: “The abdominal aorta is one of the first sites where the build-up of calcium in the arteries can occur – even before the heart.
“If we pick this up early, we can intervene and implement lifestyle and medication changes to help stop the condition progressing.
“This can signal an early warning for doctors that they need to investigate and assess their patient’s risk of heart attack or stroke.”
Lewis has conducted previous research looking at these calcium build-ups, which can also be found on bone density scans.
The condition, known as Abdominal Aortic Calcification (AAC), produces a form of atherosclerosis, the narrowing and hardening of blood vessels.
Lewis was also senior author on a paper linking AAC to an increased risk of falling, with seven out of 10 women having AAC at the time they suffered a serious fall.
Lewis said: “We know that AAC identifies women at a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes, but our research now shows that it also identifies women at a higher falls risk, independent of other falls risk factors and muscle strength.”
Chronic kidney disease has multiple risk factors that can and cannot be controlled for.
It is more common with old age, but is also made more likely by high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and diabetes.
Damage to the kidneys impairs the ability of your body to filter blood and control fluid levels.
This can cause fluid build-ups in the limbs or lungs, where it is known as a pulmonary edema.
There are also dietary factors to kidney disease prevention.
The American Kidney Fund warns against consuming too much meat, as the kidneys must work to filter excess protein.
They also note to avoid processed foods that are high in salt and salt substitutes, such as processed meats and canned foods.
Your GP can give specific dietary advice if you are at risk or have been diagnosed with kidney disease.
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