Monday, 22 April 2013

Smoking may be affecting young people's kidney function

A recent news release from some Johns Hopkins research scientists suggests that smoking, both actively and exposure to passive / second hand smoke may be affecting the kidney function of adolescents. Their research suggests that the effects of tobacco smoke of the kidneys starts in childhood.

It's a bit of an understatement to say that smoking is associated with health problems (even if for literally decades the tobacco companies denied this!). This new research found that exposure to tobacco, including secondhand smoke and active smoking, was associated with lower estimated glomerular filtration rates — a common measure of how well the kidneys are working.

A surprising number of young people try smoking, trying to pretend they are cool and grown-up - forgetting that most grown-ups don't smoke and thus showing that they are children. And along the way they are affecting their kidney function.

“Small changes in the distribution of estimated glomerular filtration rate levels in the population could have a substantial impact in kidney-related illness, as it is well known for changes in blood pressure levels and hypertension-related disease. Evaluating potential secondhand smoke exposure and providing recommendations to minimize exposure should continue to be incorporated as part of children’s routine medical care,” noted Jeffrey Fadrowski, MD, MHS, co-author of the study and an assistant professor in Pediatric Nephrology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

“Tobacco as a chronic kidney disease risk factor is of great concern given the high prevalence of use and the chronicity that most often accompanies this exposure. Protecting young people from active smoking is essential since nearly 80 percent of adults who smoke begin smoking by 18 years of age,” said Navas-Acien.