New research shows that ailing kidneys can harm your heart. And an ailing heart can cause damage to the kidneys.
Apparently, these two vital organs share a strong bond that has gone largely ignored in the medical community.
Your kidneys, of course, help to filter blood. Blood flows from the renal arteries into the kidneys. Once there, it is filtered by about a million tiny units called nephrons. Excess salt, water, and glucose are passed on to the urinary system.
Your heart is divided into four chambers. Blood passes through your heart twice during one complete circulation of your body. The right side of your heart first pumps blood to your lungs, where it picks up oxygen. Then your blood returns to the left side of your heart, where it is pumped to the rest of your body to deliver the oxygen.
The new study, published in the “Archives of Internal Medicine,” followed more than 37,000 people. Each person reported a family history of diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease.
Researchers used blood and urine tests to find out which participants showed three markers of kidney disease. The three markers were anemia, the rate at which the kidneys filtered blood, and elevated levels of protein in the urine.
After following the participants for two years, researchers found that 25% of those who tested positively for the kidney disease markers also had heart disease. These participants also had a 93% lower survival rate over the course of the study.
A second study proved the reverse is true.
Researchers at Tufts-New England Medical Center looked at data for more than 13,800 people. They found that 7.2% of those who had heart disease at the start of the study, showed a decline in kidney function. Only 3.3% of those who did not have heart disease developed kidney problems.
The researchers concluded both studies with a call to physicians to keep watch on the heart health of patients with kidney disease. And they urged doctors to also monitor the health of the kidneys in those patients with heart disease.
Knowing that these two organs are linked in good health and bad can help healthcare providers look for problems. Hopefully, understanding this link can prevent, or at least offset, serious damage.
Your heart and kidneys are worth the extra attention!