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Exposure to air pollution linked with increased risk of kidney disease, says study

/ 07:58 PM March 05, 2020
air pollution

Exposure to air pollution could be affecting the health of our kidneys. Image: letty17/IStock.com via AFP Relaxnews

New American research has found that living in areas with a high level of air pollution could increase the risk of developing kidney disease.

Led by researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the new study looked at 10,997 adults living in four different parts of the United States. The participants had an average age of 63 at the start of the study, and were followed for between 18 and 20 years.

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To assess the participants’ exposure to fine particulate matter, also called PM2.5 as the particles are smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter, the researchers estimated the monthly average levels of PM2.5 based on their home addresses.

The findings, which can be found published in CJASN, showed that exposure to higher amounts of PM2.5 was associated with a higher degree of albuminuria, which is a marker of kidney dysfunction, at the start of the study. In addition, it was also linked with a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease over time.

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Exposure to PM2.5, which is produced by burning fossil fuels from car and other vehicle exhausts, power plants and industrial emissions, has already been linked to a number of health conditions, including high blood pressure, heart problems, poorer bone health, an increased risk of chronic lung disease, however not many studies have looked at the effect of air pollution on the kidneys.

“As rates of chronic kidney disease rise worldwide, it is important to understand whether and how exposure to air pollution plays a role,” said lead author Dr. Matthew F. Blum, with the authors also adding that the findings could be even more important for countries such as China and India where levels of PM2.5 are five to ten times higher than in the U.S. IB/JB

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TOPICS: air pollution, kidney disease, kidneys, Pollution, United States
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