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Obesity May Up Risk of Kidney Failure

Study: Kidney Failure May Be 3 Times as Likely With Obesity

Weight, Kidney Failure

Few participants had been obese at age 20. But those who had BMI of 25 or more at that age were three times as likely to have chronic kidney failure during the study.

There was nothing magic about being 20 years old. Having ever been obese tripled to quadrupled men’s odds of having chronic kidney failure during the study, compared with men with a BMI of less than 25.

Women were a bit different. If they had ever been what the researchers call “morbidly obese” (BMI of at least 35), they were three to four times more likely to have chronic kidney failure during the study, compared with women with a BMI of less than 25.

The links between excess weight and chronic kidney failure were strongest for diabetesdiabetes-related kidney problems but also applied to other types of chronic kidney failure. The patterns included patients who reported not having diabetes or high blood pressurehigh blood pressure, two conditions that make chronic kidney failure more likely.

Study’s Limits

It’s possible that some participants may have had high blood pressure or diabetes and not known it, the researchers point out.

In the U.S., high blood pressure and diabetes are common, and a lot of people don’t know they have those conditions. The CDC estimates that in 2005, 20.8 million people in the U.S. had diabetes and that 6.2 million of them have undiagnosed diabetes. According to the American Heart Association, recent estimates have shown that one in three U.S. adults have high blood pressure but almost a third of them don’t know it.

Participants in Ejerblad’s study may not have reported their weight perfectly. For instance, several decades may have passed since participants were 20 years old, the youngest age for which they reported weight.

Current BMI wasn’t linked to chronic kidney failure. That result may be due to weight lossweight loss associated with chronic kidney failure, note Ejerblad and colleagues.

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