In a study from the University of Manchester and elsewhere, scientists found that obesity is likely to cause an increased risk of kidney disease.
The findings suggest that tackling obesity could have a powerful impact on kidney health.
The team used data from around 300,000 participants in the UK Biobank—one of the world’s largest biomedical databases and previous genome-wide association studies.
The extracted information on the two most common measures of obesity, body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC), and different measures of kidney function.
Most of the previous studies have been unable to explain if the link between obesity and renal disease was little more than an association.
In the current study, the team used a technique called Mendelian Randomisation and found that increasing values of genetically predicted BMI and WC were causally linked to the measures of kidney function.
The team was able to show that the causal effect of obesity on the kidney is only partly mediated by high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
The researchers also analyzed 467 kidney tissue samples and found the signatures of obesity on the human kidney—groups of genes and pathways that may potentially explain the effects of obesity on the kidney.
The current evidence substantiates the value of weight loss as a strategy for preventing or reversing a decline in kidney health, as well as decreasing the risk of renal disease.
The team hopes their findings will help to stimulate further research and drive the development of public health policies to improve kidney health and prevent kidney disease through encouraging weight loss.
Chronic kidney disease affects more than 10 percent of adults worldwide and is predicted to become a global threat to public health.
The new study demonstrates the need to promote healthy lifestyles in order to improve kidney health. Once someone becomes a kidney patient, they are a kidney patient for life because there is no cure.
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The study was conducted by Dr. Xiaoguang Xu et al and published in Cardiovascular Research.
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