Kidney failure: Expert outlines the symptoms of condition
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According to a new study, mild kidney disease is linked to an increased risk of developing and dying from cancer. Chronic kidney disease, characterised by gradual loss of kidney function over time, affects around 10 percent of the population. Researchers believe that if chronic kidney disease was recognised as an important risk factor for cancer, milder symptoms in patients could potentially trigger earlier referrals, prompting earlier treatment and better outcomes.
The analysis, led by the University of Glasgow, found that mild kidney disease is associated with a four percent increase in risk of developing cancer, and a further 15 percent risk of dying from the condition.
In people with more advanced kidney disease, researchers found a 19 percent increased risk in developing cancer and a 48 percent risk of death.
Doctor Jennifer Lees, of the University of Glasgow, said: “Our research suggests that greater uptake of cystatin C testing could be used to improve patient outcomes by identifying cancer risks earlier, thereby increasing patients’ quality of life and chance of survival.”
Cystatin C is a protein produced by the cells of the body, which is regulated by the kidneys.
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High levels of cystatin C in the blood tend to indicate that the kidneys are not working properly.
The authors of the study believe cystatin C tests are more sensitive than the serum creatinine test most commonly used in healthcare settings.
Researchers noted that heightened risk of developing and dying from cancer was not identified when kidney function was estimated using serum creatinine to establish patients’ kidney function.
“Although cystatin C testing is available in most developed countries, it is more expensive than creatinine testing in many laboratories. However, we believe more widespread use could drive down the costs of testing and aid further research into identifying and addressing the factors responsible for worse cancer outcomes in people with kidney disease,” explained Doctor Lees.
Chronic kidney disease is also linked to premature cardiovascular disease and mortality.
Using cystatin C testing, researchers also found that mild kidney disease is associated with a 20 to 30 percent increase in the risk of cardiovascular disease and early death.
Researchers however noted that this risk was more pronounced in people with advanced kidney disease.
Doctor Lees added: “Our results show that mild kidney disease is clinically important in predicting cancer risk, as well as the risk of cardiovascular disease and early death.”
How is Chronic Kidney diagnosed?
According to the Mayo Clinic, tests and procedures to diagnose chronic kidney disease include:
Blood tests: kidney function tests look for the level of waste products such as creatinine and urea, in the blood
Urine tests: Analysis a sample of urine may reveal abnormalities that point to chronic kidney failure,
Imaging tests: Some doctors use an ultrasound to assess the kidneys’ structure and size.
What causes chronic kidney disease?
Chronic kidney disease is typically caused by other conditions that put strain on the kidneys. According to the NHS, some causes of the condition include:
High blood pressure: This can put strain on the small blood vessels in the kidneys and stop the kidneys working properly
Diabetes: Too much glucose in the blood can damage the tiny filters in the kidneys
High cholesterol: This can cause a build-up of fatty deposits in the blood vessels supplying your kidneys, which can make it harder for them to work properly.
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