Not just lungs, air pollution may also affect your kidney

Washington: The adverse effects on lungs while breathing polluted air is a well-known matter of concern. However, a recent study has now identified that higher levels of air pollution may also lead to having an increased risk of developing kidney disease.

The recent study which will appear in an upcoming issue of CJASN, has shown how air pollution impacts the kidneys, which act as filters for the blood.

To study the case further, Matthew F. Blum, MD (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine) and his colleagues examined information on 10,997 adults across four sites in the United States who were followed from 1996 to 1998 through 2016.

The researchers estimated the monthly average levels of tiny particles of air pollution — called fine particulate matter — based on participants’ home addresses.

Fine particulate matter comes from a variety of sources including fossil fuel combustion, industrial processes and natural sources.

After conducting a detailed analysis, the team found that exposure to higher amounts of fine particulate matter was associated with a higher degree of albuminuria — a marker of kidney dysfunction — at the start of the study as well as a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease over time.

“As rates of chronic kidney disease rise worldwide, it is important to understand whether and how exposure to air pollution plays a role,” said Dr Blum.

The authors noted that their findings may be especially important for parts of the world with higher air pollution, such as China and India, where fine particulate matter levels are 5 to 10 times higher than in the United States.
Future studies should examine whether efforts to improve air quality yield health benefits, including reducing rates of chronic kidney disease.

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