Harvard Heart Letter

Prevent kidney disease to prevent heart disease

Kidney disease contributes to heart risk not only by increasing blood pressure, but also by increasing bad LDL cholesterol, increasing inflammation, decreasing vitamin D, reducing good HDL cholesterol, and setting off a cascade of chemical messengers that impair blood vessel function. Heart disease and kidney disease share many of the same risk factors: smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, high levels of bad LDL cholesterol, and diabetes. But kidney disease goes beyond these factors in promoting heart disease in ways that aren’t yet fully understood. That’s why people concerned about heart disease should pay careful attention to kidney health.
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