Beijing: Long-term exposure to air pollution may not only lead to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, but also cause damage to the kidneys, a new study has warned.
To examine how particulate matter in the air is affecting kidney health, researchers from Southern Medical University in China analysed data on kidney biopsies taken over 11 years from 71,151 patients, encompassing all age groups.
On average, the likelihood of developing membranous nephropathy, an immune disorder of the kidneys that can lead to kidney failure, increased 13 per cent annually over the 11-year study period, whereas the proportions of other major
kidney conditions remained stable, researchers said.
Regions with high levels of fine particulate air pollution had the highest rates of membranous nephropathy, they said.
“Our primary finding is that the frequency of membranous nephropathy has doubled over the last decade in China.
We show that the increase corresponds closely with the regional distribution of particulate air pollution,” said Fan Hou from Southern Medical University. The findings were published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.