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Health Tip #44: Guard Against Diabetes to Protect Your Kidneys

According to a recent study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, seniors with metabolic syndrome have an increased risk of chronic kidney disease.

Being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome means you have three or more of the following risk factors for diabetes and heart disease: high abdominal obesity, low HDL ("good") cholesterol, high blood pressure, high triglycerides (fat in the blood) and high blood glucose levels. Metabolic syndrome is more common in older populations and, while previous studies have demonstrated an association between metabolic syndrome and kidney disease, this study is the first to investigate the association with the elderly population.

"Our study found that metabolic syndrome predicts both the prevalence and incidence of chronic kidney disease in people aged 65 years or older," said lead investigator Chung-Jen Yen, MD, of National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan. "We also found that rapid decline in renal function is more likely found in individuals with insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels."

In this study, researchers examined the effect of the metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance on the development of chronic kidney disease and the decline in renal function in a group of 1,456 Asians age 65 years or older. Yen and his colleagues evaluated study participants for the metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance and followed them for an average of more than three years. They found that insulin resistance may be the central hub that links metabolic syndrome and the deterioration of renal function. "Our study suggests that people can safeguard their kidneys when they take care of their blood glucose levels and lose weight," said Yen.

That means getting regular check-ups that include blood tests to measure cholesterol, triglycerides and blood glucose levels and to work with your doctor on safe weight loss if you’re not at a healthy weight for your size. And if you have metabolic syndrome or have already developed diabetes, make sure you follow a management plan to bring it under control.
 

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