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Researchers Link Obesity with Kidney Problems

Dec 14, 2013 08:58 AM EST

Obesity is linked with kidney disease, according to a new study by researchers at University of California - San Francisco.

Obesity can raise risk of chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis and even some cancers. According to estimates by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a third of all people living in the U.S are obese. What's worse is that many teens and young adults are now suffering from obesity-related health problems.

For the study, Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, PhD, MD, professor of medicine at the University and colleagues obtained data from CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults). CARDIA has been tracking health of thousands of black and white people since 1985.

The research team looked at medical records of nearly 3,000 people. They categorized participants on the body mass index (BMI): normal weight, overweight, obese, and extremely obese. Study results showed that over time, kidney function of most participants declined. However, heavier participants had higher chances of having kidney trouble at a younger age.

"When we accounted for diabetes, high blood pressure, and inflammatory processes, the body mass index was still a predictor of kidney function decline, so there was something unique about just being too large that in and of itself affected kidney function even before the onset of frank kidney disease," said Vanessa Grubbs, assistant adjunct professor of medicine and first author of the new study, according to a news release."We're not able to tease out the mechanisms for that just yet, but we're hoping to look at it in a future study."

CARDIA uses cystatin C, which is a more sensitive marker for kidney problems rather than creatinine levels

The study is published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases.

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