January 21, 2009

Impaired kidneys raise heart risk

Impaired kidney function raises risk of heart problems in the elderly, University of Glasgow researchers said in Scotland.

A study, published in the journal PLoS Medicine, suggests that elderly people with damaged kidneys are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease, such as heart failure and stroke and other causes of mortality.

The findings indicate that greater efforts should be made to encourage elderly people who have impaired kidney function alongside other risk factors -- such as high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure, which are often a result of smoking and diet -- to make lifestyle changes to avoid developing cardiovascular problems.

Ian Ford of the University of Glasgow and colleagues analyzed existing data from a three-year clinical trial conducted among men and women aged between 70 and 82 in Scotland, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Ford established that the patients with the most impaired kidney function -- were twice as likely to die from any cause as those with healthier kidneys. They also established that the patients with the most damaged kidneys were three times more likely to have non-fatal heart failure or disease and were more likely to die as a result of heart disease or failure.