Obesity Heightens Kidney Disease Risks

THURSDAY, Aug. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Chronic kidney disease patients who are also obese are much more likely than normal-weight patients to have a condition called hyperparathyroidism, which raises their risk of heart problems and death, U.S. researchers say.

Hyperparathyroidism involves elevated levels of parathyroid hormone (PTH). Normally, parathyroid hormone plays an important role in maintaining normal bone structure. Elevated levels of the hormone can lead to bone abnormalities and increased risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Decreased kidney function is the main cause of hyperparathyroidism in chronic kidney disease patients.

This study of 496 patients with moderate to severe chronic kidney disease who were not yet on dialysis showed a significant association between obesity and hyperparathyroidism. As body mass increased, so did PTH levels, the researchers said.

"We knew that in people with normal kidney function obesity leads to impairment in vitamin D metabolism and elevated PTH levels, but this phenomenon was never studied in patients with chronic kidney disease," lead author Dr. Csaba P. Kovesdy, of Salem VA Medical Center in Salem, Va., said in a prepared statement.

"Since both obesity and hyperparathyroidism are very complex problems in chronic kidney disease, establishing an association between the two is important because of potential prognostic and therapeutic implications," Kovesdy said.

The study is published in the September issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Society of Nephrology, news release, Aug. 8, 2007

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