BALTIMORE, May 29 (UPI) -- Tests for kidney function and damage have been shown to be good indicators of heart disease risk, and in some cases are better indicators than cholesterol and blood pressure tests generally given to patients who may face cardiac issues.
Researchers reviewed data collected from 637,000 patients involved in 24 studies who had no history of heart disease, finding that results from common kidney function tests for the waste product creatine in the blood and the amount of albumin leaking out of the kidney into urine improved prediction of heart problems.
"If health care providers have data on kidney damage and kidney function - which they often do - they should be using those data to better understand a patient's risk of cardiovascular disease," said Kunihiro Matsushita, MD, PhD, an assistant scientist in the Bloomberg School's Department of Epidemiology, in a press release. "Cholesterol levels and blood pressure tests are good indicators of cardiovascular risk, but they are not perfect. This study tells us we could do even better with information that often times we are already collecting."
Although people with chronic kidney disease are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease compared to those with healthy kidneys, and poorly functioning kidneys can lead to fluid overloads that can result in heart attacks, Matsushita said the biological link between the two diseases and their indicators is not entirely understood.
The study is published in The Lancet: Diabetes and Endocrinology.