Maintaining a heart healthy lifestyle may also help protect chronic kidney disease patients from developing kidney failure and dying prematurely, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). The findings suggest that patients with kidney disease should be encouraged to improve their heart health.
Poor kidney health puts people at risk of developing heart problems, but it's unclear whether the opposite is true. Does heart health also affect kidney health?
To investigate, Paul Muntner, PhD (University of Alabama at Birmingham) and his colleagues used the American Heart Association's recently published tool (Life's Simple 7) that helps individuals assess their heart health. Life's Simple 7 lists seven domains including not smoking, being physically active, following a heart healthy diet, having a normal weight, and maintaining low blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. "Scores on the Life's Simple 7 tool have been associated with risk for having a heart attack but it was unclear whether a worse profile would be associated with an increased risk for developing kidney failure," said Dr. Munter.
The investigators looked for a link between Life's Simple 7 components with both kidney failure and death among 3,093 individuals with stage 3 or 4 chronic kidney disease. During an average follow-up of four years, 160 participants developed kidney failure and 610 participants died.
Among the major findings:
"This study highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, not just on patients' risk for developing heart disease but also for the prevention of kidney failure," said Dr. Muntner. People who wish to evaluate their heart health can go to http://mylifecheck.heart.org/PledgePage.aspx?NavID=5&CultureCode=en-US to see how they can improve their heart health.
In an accompanying editorial, Andrew Chin, MD and Lorien Dalrymple, MD (University of California, Davis) noted that "this study provides an opportunity to reconsider and reevaluate our approach to modifying health behaviors and factors in individuals living with CKD." They added that whether a combination of health behavior changes in conjunction with optimal management of health factors alters the progression of CKD remains a topic worthy of continued study.
Study co-authors include SuzanneJudd, PhD, Liyan Gao, PhD, Orlando Gutiérrez, MD, Dana Rizk, MD, William McClellan, MD, Mary Cushman, MD, and David Warnock, MD.
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