Harvard Health Letter

Chronic kidney disease raises the risk of death regardless of age

Chronic kidney disease (CKD), a condition found in about half of U.S. adults older than 75, has come to be considered by many people as an almost "normal" part of aging, because it is so widespread. But a recent study suggests that CKD and its complications are associated with a higher risk of death at any age, and that preventing CKD or at least slowing its progress is not only possible, but should be a priority for everybody. The study was published online Oct. 30, 2012, in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

CKD involves the loss of kidney function over time, and one of the indicators of CKD is the amount of protein in the urine. Because of the link between CKD and higher death risks, people who start to experience kidney problems should take all necessary steps to make lifestyle changes and follow recommended treatment plans. CKD is also a risk factor for cardiovascular complications. Among the main preventive steps you can take are to quit smoking, drink alcohol in moderation (if at all), and eat a healthy diet that's low in saturated fat.

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