Air pollution causes millions of CKD cases globally each year

Air pollution causes millions of CKD cases globally each year

 The estimated global burden of chronic kidney disease (CKD) attributable to air pollution (fine particulate matter (PM) less than 2.5 µm) is significant, amounting to more than 10.7 million cases per year.

The researchers used the Global Burden of Disease study methodologies to estimate the burden of CKD attributable to air pollution. Epidemiologic measures of the burden of CKD attributable to air pollution included years living with disability (YLD, meaning years living with kidney disease), years of life lost (YLL, meaning early death attributable to kidney disease), and disability-adjusted life years (DALY, a measure that combines the burden of living with the disease and the early death caused by the disease).

  • The global annual burden of incident CKD attributable to high PM2.5 levels was 10,784,514 (95% Uncertainty Interval: 7,821,109-13,857,623).
  • YLD, YLL, and DALYs of CKD attributable to high PM2.5 were 2,185,317 (1,418,442-
  • 3,061,477), 7,897,941 (5,471,081-10,514,433), and 10,083,258 (7,064,399-13,323,685), respectively.

The study also found that burden of disease varies greatly by geography. India, along with Nigeria, Bangladesh and Pakistan had the high attributable burden of disease, exceeding 200 incident cases of CKD per 100,000 population.

India was also amongst the countries that reported highest DALYs that included Mexico, Central America, Southeast Asia and Northern Africa. DALYs per 100,000 were 366.71 (251.05, 498.01) in Nicaragua and 353.93 (260.05-449.24) in Mexico, compared to 44.59 (24.07-65.74) in the United States.

These findings were presented at the recently concluded ASN Kidney Week 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.

Keeping BP, cholesterol, body weight, blood sugar within healthy limits, avoiding overuse of OTC painkillers, smoking, eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly are some of the ways to protect kidney health.

Air pollution has become a major threat to society today. Air pollution has been at an extremely high level, particularly in the Delhi-NCR region and continues to remain the ‘hazardous’ category.

Studies have shown that air pollution can damage the kidneys. A significant association between exposure to PM2.5 and risk of incident CKD, decrease in estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR)  and progression to end stage renal disease was reported online September 2, 2017 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

It’s now time perhaps to add air pollution (PM2.5) to the list of risk factors for chronic kidney disease and recommend avoiding or limiting air pollution exposure to the list of measures generally advised to prevent/delay chronic kidney disease.

It has become important to also note the air pollution levels in different areas in your city before venturing out to avoid exposure to pollution.

(Source: American Society of Nephrology News Release, November 4, 2017)

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