Oxford study confirms a big cause of kidney disease

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In a new study, researchers discovered that obesity can increase the chances of someone developing kidney disease.

They found that fat all over the body increases risk, not just fat around the middle (tummy fat), and suggested controlling weight could be a new way to manage kidney disease risk.

The research was conducted by a team at the University of Oxford.

Previous studies have found that obesity is linked with an increased risk of kidney disease.

But it wasn’t clear whether obesity directly caused kidney disease or whether other factors were involved, such as more salt in people’s diet.

In this latest research, the team studied almost 300,000 DNA samples from the UK Biobank.

They searched over 1,000 genetic variations known to predispose people to a higher overall body mass index (BMI) or more abdominal fat deposition (fat around the middle).

People with these gene variations are more likely to become overweight or obese because they inherit these genes.

The team found kidney disease risk didn’t change based on fat location—it increased by the same amount regardless of whether fat was deposited centrally (around the organs) or across the body generally (such as around the legs and arms).

To understand why this happens, the researchers tested whether the genetic variants that predispose certain people to obesity were also associated with diabetes or high blood pressure—which both lead to kidney disease.

They found that for most cases of obesity-associated kidney disease, diabetes and blood pressure were the driving causes.

When fat was deposited around the central organs, kidney disease was caused almost exclusively by diabetes.

On the other hand, when fat was deposited generally across the body, both diabetes and high blood pressure contributed to kidney disease.

The team says if doctors can prevent diabetes and control blood pressure in those who are overweight or obese, they may be able to prevent many cases of kidney disease from developing in the first place.

A new class of drugs called gliflozins reduces the kidney’s ability to retain sugar and salt, meaning the body is more able to get rid of excess sugar and salt.

This helps people with diabetes control their weight and blood pressure, and recent trials are revealing they are particularly effective at treating diabetic kidney disease, and other kidney diseases.

The team is running a large clinical trial to find out if this is true in a wider range of people with kidney problems.

One author of the study is Professor Will Herrington.

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

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