High blood pressure, kidney failure, kidney stones and now CHD, all related.
Incidence of kidney stones has been rising over the last decades. Research shows a 3.8 percent increase in cases between 1976 and 1980 and an 8.8 percent increase – more than double, between 2007 and 2010. If untreated, kidney stones can lead to chronic kidney disease or even renal failure.
A recent report by the University of Maryland has shown that people with high blood pressure are up to three times more likely to develop kidney stones. On the flip side, high blood pressure has been shown to be a leading cause of kidney failure ― according to statistics hypertension causes over 25,000 new cases of renal failure a year in the U.S. alone.
So, this chicken and egg scenario means it is not quite clear whether having hypertension increases the risk for a kidney stone, whether stones lead to hypertension, or whether there is a factor linking both conditions. The fact is that the kidneys are responsible for removing wastes from the body, regulating electrolyte balance and blood pressure, and stimulating red blood cell production.
Besides high blood pressure, kidney stones have also been linked to diabetes and other systematic diseases, but an association with coronary heart disease (CHD) has been inconclusive. However, a new study, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, indicates that a history of kidney stones is associated with a 20-50 percent increased risk of CHD in women, but not in men.
The study was led by Pierro Manuel Ferraro, MD, of the Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart. Ferraro and colleagues analyzed data from three large prospective studies, which in total included 45,748 men, aged 40 to 75 and 196,357 women, aged 30 to 55 who had no CHD at baseline. Follow up was 18 years for women and 24 years for men. Overall, 19,678 participants had a history of kidney stones and 16,838 had an incidence of CHD. Woman with kidney stones had a higher CHD incidence rate than women without.
The researchers also noted that participants with kidney stones were more likely to have hypertension, use thiazides to treat it, and in general have lower intakes of calcium, caffeine and vitamin D.
Whichever comes first, both kidney stones and high blood pressure are treatable conditions. Patients with hypertension may want to try non-drug treatments like the FDA-cleared RESPeRATE device, which lowers high blood pressure and significantly reduces stress.