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Poor Growth, Delayed Puberty And Heart Problems Plague Kids With Mild Kidney Disease

August 15, 2011

Treatment may slow kidney disease and protect the heart

Children with only mildly to moderately impaired kidney function experience poor growth, delays in puberty, and heart problems, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN). Therapies for these conditions might help slow the progression of kidney disease in children.

Heart disease causes almost 35% of deaths in young adults with chronic kidney disease. What factors during childhood might contribute, and how serious do kidney problems have to be before they trigger damage to the heart? To find out, Susan Furth, MD, PhD, of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and her colleagues studied 586 children with chronic kidney disease.

Among the major findings:

    * Poor growth, delayed puberty, metabolic problems (such as pH and electrolyte imbalances), and high blood pressure often occurred in children with only mildly or moderately impaired kidneys.
    * Even when children took medications to treat some of these conditions, they were more common as kidney function decreased.

“We were hoping to identify risk factors for CKD progression and see if these can be targeted to slow the decline of kidney function and prevent its complications,” said Dr. Furth. “Our findings suggest that more aggressive interventions to improve blood pressure and metabolic abnormalities may be areas where interventions could slow chronic kidney disease progression and decrease the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in children and young adults with chronic kidney disease. The next step will be to design clinical trials of these interventions based on our findings.”

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