Rheumatoid arthritis can increase the risk of chronic kidney disease. According to the researchers at Mayo Clinic, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients have bigger chances of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD) and an increased inflammation, hypertension and obesity. Rheumatoid arthritis patients should be tested periodically for any signs of kidney problems. They should also try to manage their blood pressure by avoiding any kind of high-salt foods and reducing the medications that can negatively affect their kidneys.
The study from Mayo Clinic analyzed 813 rheumatoid arthritis patients and 813 patients that didn’t had the condition. The study noticed that during a 20 year period the patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis had a one in four chance of developing chronic kidney disease while people not affected by the disease had a one in five chance.
The senior author of the study, Dr. Eric Matteson stated that although the chances might not seem that high, the difference is still a big one and the information is very important for the course of rheumatoid arthritis and the management of the disease. They also notice that heart disease was another common risk for rheumatoid arthritis patients that also had chronic kidney disease.
The risk of rheumatoid arthritis patients developing chronic kidney disease grows higher due to the use of corticosteroids, severe inflammation, obesity, hypertension and very high cholesterol.
Dr. Matteson made a very important observation, noting that there no treatment guidelines for chronic kidney disease in rheumatoid arthritis at the moment, but he advises the doctors to be very careful what medication they give to Ra patients in order to reduce the risk of them developing CKD.
Even more, DR Matteson says that RA patients should undergo routine blood work and urine analysis in order to monitor kidney function. He states that it is very easy to identify a kidney disease in a rheumatoid arthritis patient and that the methods used for doing such are the same methods used in the general population.
Patients should be careful with their blood pressure and their use of medications that can be toxic to the kidneys in order to reduce their risk of CKD even further.
How rheumatoid arthritis affect the kidneys
Inflammation is the main cause why rheumatoid arthritis has an effect on the kidneys. The inflammation is a mechanism used by the body to protect and heal itself, but chronic inflammation causes more damage than a normal inflammation, producing stress and destroying cells and tissue.
Some of the other major factors that cause a higher risk of developing CKD in rheumatoid arthritis patients are obesity, hypertension, corticosteroid medication, high cholesterol, and a high-salt diet.
The good part about these risk factors is that many of them can be modified. Therefore it is very important that RA patients change their lifestyles accordingly in order to reduce these risks.