Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Keeping it in the Family

There are several well-known causes of kidney failure. Diabetics, for example, are likely to suffer from renal failure. High blood pressure is another problem likely to lead to kidney damage. But recent research came to a surprising conclusion - who you are married to (or live with, I suppose) can result in an increased chance of you having kidney problems.

Yes, I was somewhat surprised when I saw this reported as well!

Research published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases reports that the spouses (partners) of patients on dialysis are likely to suffer from chronic kidney disease themselves, and are advised to be tested.

The research looked at 196 first- and second-degree relatives and 95 spouses of 178 hemodialysis (HD) patients, and found that a significantly higher prevalence of CKD was found in relatives (the genetic link mentioned in the previous post), but an even higher prevalence was found in spouses / partners, who were more likely to suffer from CKD than the general population. Overall four out of ten spouses suffered from CKD, compared to less than one in ten of the general population.

The Taiwanese research scientists suggest that health habits, often similar for husbands and wives, were probably an important factor. Are both smokers? Are both inactive? Are both obese? Couples often adopt each other's lifestyle to some extent and if their lifestyle includes a factor that may lead to kidney problems, then they can both be at risk.

So, if you or your partner have CKD, then it's time for both of you to make a visit to the doctor.