Kidney Disease Raises Heart Attack Risk

Chronic kidney disease patients have higher risk of heart attack than diabetes patients

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) A human body is a network of interconnected systems. This means one unhealthy organ can cause problems in an entirely different part of the body. Often, it is the heart that takes the blow.

People with chronic kidney disease may have an increased risk of heart disease.

In fact, kidney disease patients have a higher risk of heart disease than people with diabetes.

"Take care of your heart if you have kidney disease."

Diabetes is considered a heart disease risk equivalent, meaning people with diabetes have a risk of heart disease similar to those with a previous heart attack. Marcello Tonelli, MD, of the University of Alberta, and colleagues wanted to see if kidney disease should also be considered a heart disease equivalent.

The results of their study show that people with kidney disease had more heart attacks than those with diabetes.

These findings could help doctors identify patients patients at risk of heart attack and heart disease. If doctors know who is at risk, they can take steps to prevent heart problems in the future.

"Our findings suggest that chronic kidney disease could be added to the list of criteria defining people at highest risk of future coronary events," the authors write.

During their study of more than 1,000,000 people, 11,340 participants were admitted to a hospital for heart attack.

Compared to those with diabetes or kidney disease, people with a previous heart attack had the highest risk of heart attack, with about 18.5 heart attacks per 1,000 person years.

Heart attacks were more common in people with kidney disease (without diabetes) than in people with diabetes (without kidney disease).

The rate of heart attacks among people with kidney disease was about 6.9 per 1,000 person years, compared to 5.4 per 1,000 person years among diabetes patients.

It is already well known that diabetes increases the risk of heart attack, and that taking the proper steps can prevent heart attack.

According to the results of the current study, kidney disease patients may benefit as much - maybe even more - by taking those same preventive measures.

This research was funded by the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research.

The study is published in The Lancet.

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Review Date: 
June 20, 2012
Last Updated:
November 13, 2012