Insulin Resistance May Lead to Kidney Disease in the Elderly: Study

THURSDAY, March 8 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly people with metabolic syndrome are at increased risk for chronic kidney disease, and insulin resistance may be the central hub that links metabolic syndrome and kidney-function decline, according to a new study.

People are diagnosed with metabolic syndrome when they have at least three risk factors for diabetes and heart disease, including: high blood pressure, high blood-sugar (glucose) levels, high triglycerides (fat in the blood), low levels of "good" (HDL) cholesterol and too much abdominal fat.

The study included 1,456 people, aged 65 and older, in Taiwan who were followed for an average of more than three years. The findings will appear in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

"Our study found that metabolic syndrome predicts both the prevalence and incidence of chronic kidney disease in people aged 65 years or older," the lead investigator, Dr. Chung-Jen Yen, of National Taiwan University in Taipei, said in a journal news release.

"We also found that rapid decline in renal function is more likely found in individuals with insulin resistance and high blood-sugar levels," Yen added.

The findings suggest "that people can safeguard their kidneys when they take care of their blood glucose levels and lose weight," Yen said. "Further studies are needed to assess the impact of treating metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance on renal outcomes in the elderly population."

-- Robert Preidt

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SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, news release, March 6, 2012