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Metabolic syndrome may cause kidney disease

High blood pressure, high blood sugar, abdominal fat, low good cholesterol may contribute to kidney disease

Metabolic syndrome comprises a group of medical disorders that increase people's risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and premature death when they occur together. A patient is diagnosed with the syndrome when he or she exhibits three or more of the following characteristics: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat in the waist/abdomen, low good cholesterol, and higher levels of fatty acids (the building blocks of fat).

People with metabolic abnormalities are at increased risk of developing kidney disease, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN).

Sankar Navaneethan, MD (Cleveland Clinic) and his colleagues searched the medical literature and combined data from 11 studies examining the relationship between metabolic syndrome and kidney disease. Altogether, they included 30,416 individuals from various ethnic groups.

People with metabolic syndrome have a 55% increased risk of developing kidney problems, especially lower kidney function, indicative of kidney disease.

Individual components of metabolic syndrome are linked with the development of kidney disease.

Kidney disease risk increases as the number of metabolic syndrome components increases.

"Primary care physicians may need to consider using metabolic syndrome as a marker to identify patients at higher risk of developing kidney disease," said Dr. Navaneethan.

Preventing and managing metabolic syndrome—through eating a healthy diet, exercising, losing excess body weight, and lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels—may help prevent kidney disease. Previous clinical studies have examined the effects of some of these steps (such as lowering blood pressure and blood sugar) on kidney function while others (such as the effects of exercise and intentional weight loss) still need to be studied.

Study co-authors include George Thomas, MD, Sangeeta Kashyap, MD, Titte Srinivas, MD, John Kirwan, PhD (Cleveland Clinic); and Ashwini Sehgal, MD (Case Western Reserve University).

Disclosures: The authors reported no financial disclosures.

The article, entitled "Metabolic Syndrome and Kidney Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis," will appear online at

The content of this article does not reflect the views or opinions of The American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s). ASN does not offer medical advice. All content in ASN publications is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This content should not be used during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any drug, changing your diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through ASN. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies.

Founded in 1966, and with more than 12,000 members, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) leads the fight against kidney disease by educating health professionals, sharing new knowledge, advancing research, and advocating the highest quality care for patients.

Adrienne Lea | EurekAlert!
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