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Both kidney disease and diabetes are very common among black people in the United States, the study authors noted.
For the study, researchers reviewed data from more than 3,200 black people in Mississippi who were enrolled in a heart study from 2000 to 2004. The participants were followed for a median of seven years.
The investigators found that the risk of death from heart disease was more than 2 percent higher per year among those with diabetes. The risk of death from heart disease was 7 percent higher in people with kidney disease. But, people with both diabetes and kidney disease fared the worst. Their risk of dying from heart disease was 15 percent higher, the study found.
The study couldn't prove a cause-and-effect relationship. But the results suggested that having both diabetes and kidney disease was linked to more than a three times increased risk of heart disease and a six times higher risk of stroke.
"African Americans in low-income counties in Mississippi have higher rates of adverse cardiovascular outcomes and mortality than any other subpopulation in the United States (including other African American subpopulations), rates that are comparable to those in some of the most underprivileged parts of the globe," said study co-leader Dr. Maryam Afkarian, of the University of Washington in Seattle.
Afkarian noted that the researchers wanted to know how much diabetes and kidney disease might contribute to heart disease, stroke and death from heart disease in this group of black people from low-income areas in Mississippi.
"This is an important question because in order to reduce the excess burden of cardiovascular disease and death, it is important to identify the factors that contribute to them," Afkarian explained in a news release from the American Society of Nephrology.
The study was scheduled for publication in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.
-- Robert Preidt
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SOURCE: American Society of Nephrology, news release, June 23, 2016