Older people who are overweight and have high blood sugar levels are substantially more likely to develop chronic kidney disease, according to a new study.
The research, to be published in Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, examined the increased dangers to seniors who have so-called “metabolic syndrome,” which raises the risk of diabetes and heart disease. The syndrome is typically diagnosed when an individual has at least three of the following risk factors: low levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol, but high levels of belly fat, blood sugar, triglycerides and/or blood pressure.
"Our study found that metabolic syndrome predicts both the prevalence and incidence of chronic kidney disease in people aged 65 years or older," said lead investigator Dr. Chung-Jen Yen, of National Taiwan University in Taipei. "We also found that rapid decline in renal function is more likely found in individuals with insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels."
The study involved 1,456 Asians aged 65 years or older who were evaluated for metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance – a hallmark of diabetes. The seniors were tracked for more than three years, on average.
They found obesity and insulin resistance may be the principal factors that cause deterioration of kidney functions.
"Our study suggests that people can safeguard their kidneys when they take care of their blood glucose levels and lose weight," said Yen. "Further studies are needed to assess the impact of treating metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance on renal outcomes in the elderly population."