Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Correlation between Kidney and Cardiovascular Disease

Chronic Kidney Disease and Heart Disease

Kidney failure and heart disease are both growing epidemics that are really hitting hard within the United States.  According to the Susan Simmons Holcomb PhD, “the number of patients treated with dialysis or transplantation is projected to increase from 340,000 people in 1999, to an estimated 651,000 in 2010.”(Holcomb page 1)  Chronic Kidney Disease by nature is when your kidneys are not able to filtrate enough harmful fluids during a certain period of time.  The most common causes of CKD(Chronic Kidney Disease)  are hypertension and diabetes, but it can also range from advanced age to family medical history of CKD. “Chronic Kidney Disease is established based on the occurrence of kidney damage as well as your glomerular filtration rate (GFR),” (Holcomb, pg3) which is how much your kidneys are able to filter fluids over a period of time.  If your GFR is below 15 ml/min/1.73m squared then one is in stage four of kidney disease, and your kidneys have failed.  Kidney Disease is also diagnosed by the amount of serum creatinine your body is making.  For women the average level is 0.96 mg/dl and for men the average is 1.17 mg/dl.  By definition, kidney disease occurs when this level reaches higher than 1.5 mg/dl, but it can also be affected by environmental factors such as age, family history, and medications one is taking.  There are many symptoms of CKD, but initially they are asymptomatic, or occur with just one symptom.  Some symptoms include: fatigue, insomnia, change in taste, and metallic taste in the mouth. 

                Now how does kidney disease coincide with cardio-vascular disease?  In many cases, if someone has cardio-vascular problems, they too have kidney problems.  The body’s inability to maintain balance on a chemical level affects both quite harshly.  “According to the charge on page 3 of the “Cardiovascular Disease in Kidney Failure”, there are several areas that affect both the kidneys and the cardio-vascular system such as: Decreased GFR, Proteinuria, malnutrition, and the overactivation of the Renin-angiotensin system.”(McCarley,Salai, pg 3).  A decrease in GFR rate in the kidneys leads to electrolyte and acid-based imbalances, uremia, and extracellular fluid volume.  These can lead to sudden death, left ventricular hypertrophy, and hypertension.  “Proteinuria is a not only a marker of kidney damage, it also seems to be a marker for cardiovascular disease, and can be toxic to the kidney itself.( Holcomb, pg. 7)  Tests are done to check the level of albumin to creatinine, and any harsh variations to this level lead to both CVD and CKD.  Malnutrition is a huge cause of both kidney and cardiovascular disease.  In essence, if you do not fuel your body with the right products you need over a long period of time, your body with basically start to shut down because of your kidneys inability to filter these harmful products, and your cardiovascular system with begin to have problems such as hypertension and blood clots in your arteries due to high sugar diets, and fatty foods such as fast food.  “The overactivation of the renin-angiotensin system causes sodium and water retention and peripheral vascular constriction, resulting in hypertension and left ventricular hypertrophy, which is believed to play a role in atherogenesis.”McCarley,Salia, pg.5) 

                There are many things in life that we cannot control such as genes, family history, and where we live for the most part. At the same time there are many things in life that we can control that really effect our cardiovascular system as well as our kidneys.  For example, smoking, binge drinking on a regular basis, and diet are three significant factors that really take a toll over a long period of time, and genetics only speeds up the process.  Things of this nature should only be done in moderation even if at all, so one should take care of their body correctly, so in turn, one can live longer and healthier, but in the end a doctor is only one phone call away!

Works Cited

1.       Cardio Vascular Disease in Chronic Kidney Disease, American Journal of Nursing,  Patricia B. McCarley and Patricia B. Salai. April 2005. Volume 105 Number 4.

2.       Evaluating Chronic Kidney Disease Risk, The Nurse Practioner: The American Journal of Ptimary Health Care, Susan Simmons Holcomb PhD. April 2005. Volume 30 Number 4.

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