Many young adults with abdominal obesity are at a heightened risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD), yet majority are unaware of the risk, suggests new research led by an Indian-origin scientist.
Abdominal obesity — also known as central obesity — is when excessive abdominal fat around the stomach and abdomen has built up to the extent that it is likely to have a negative impact on health.
The findings showed that 11 per cent of obese have albuminuria — elevated levels of the protein albumin in the urine — which signals that the kidneys are not functioning normally and that a person faces a heightened risk for developing CKD — a condition characterised by a gradual loss of kidney function over time.
“In this study we wanted to evaluate whether obesity is associated with CKD even in an otherwise healthy young adult population and to identify risk factors that may promote this association,” said Harini Sarathy, clinical and research fellow at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in the US.
Also found was that among all young adults with albuminuria, fewer than five percent had ever been told they have kidney disease.
Obesity should be considered an independent risk factor for CKD and that doctors should be testing for kidney damage when evaluating obese young adults, the researchers suggested.
“Even though chronic kidney disease typically manifests in older people, the disease can start much earlier but often is not recognised early on,” said led researcher Michal L. Melamed, associate professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the US.
For the study, published online in the journal PLOS ONE, the team analysed health data on 6,918 non-pregnant adults ages 20 to 40.
The data was gathered between 1999 and 2010 by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) — a programme designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the US.
“Because treatment options for CKD are limited, prevention is the best approach for those at risk. A healthier lifestyle in young adults will go a long way toward promoting kidney health later in life,” Melamed noted.