Kidney function could be a better gauge of heart attack risk than cholesterol levels and blood pressure, according to a recently conducted study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
According to a JHSPH news release, the researchers reviewed data collected from 637,000 patients in 24 studies who had no history of heart disease and found that results from common kidney function tests, which are used to assess levels creatine in the blood and the amount of albumin leaking out of the kidney into urine, improved the successful prediction rate of heart problems.
The amount of creatinine in the blood reflects how well the kidneys are filtering out waste. Higher amounts of albumin indicate the presence of kidney damage. In the study’s participants, the levels of creatinine and albuminuria predicted cardiovascular disease in general, particularly heart failure, hear attack and stroke.
Albuminuria was found to be the strongest predictor, outperforming cholesterol levels and blood pressure as a risk assessor for heart failure and death from heart attack or stroke.
The study’s lead author Kunihiro Matsushita, MD, PhD, an assistant scientist at Bloomberg School’s Department of Epidemiology, believes that the study’s findings show that health care providers can use data on kidney damage and kidney function to better understand a patient’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
Cholesterol levels and blood pressure tests are good indicators of cardiovascular risk, but they are not perfect. This study tells us we could do even better with information that often times we are already collecting.
People with chronic kidney disease are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease as those with healthy kidneys and roughly half of them die from it before they reach kidney failure.
While the biological mechanisms linking kidney disease to cardiovascular disease aren’t well understood, Matsushita says that poorly functioning kidneys can lead to a fluid overload that may result in heart failure.
The results of the study were published in The Lancet’s journal Diabetes and Endocrinology on May 29.
In other news about heart disease here at Immortal News, treating depression with antidepressants has been shown to lowers rates of death, coronary artery disease and stroke.