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Air Pollution Linked to Higher Rates of Chronic Kidney Disease

Update Date: Nov 15, 2014 12:04 PM EST

Several studies have linked air pollution to different kinds of diseases, such as obesity and developmental diseases in young children who were exposed in the womb. According to a new study, air pollution might also be tied to chronic kidney disease (CKD).

"If air pollution is a risk factor for CKD, the impact is likely to be even greater in countries where pollution levels are much higher than in the U.S. Future investigations should include lab-based diagnosis of CKD, longitudinal data, measures of multiple air pollutants and individual exposure, and more extensive control of confounding factors," said Jennifer Bragg-Gresham, Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, reported in the press release.

For this study, Dr. Bragg-Gresham and her colleagues examined the 2010 Medicare medical data on 1.1 million people. The team also looked at air-quality data gathered by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The researchers discovered that CKD was associated with air pollution. After accounting for factors that could contribute to CKD, such as age, diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure), the team found that when the air particulate matter levels were at 8.4 μg/m3, there were an elevated number of CVD cases.

The study, "County-level Air Quality and the Prevalence of Diagnosed Chronic Kidney Disease in the U.S. Medicare Population," was presented at the ASN Kidney Week 2014, taking place fro November 11-16 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

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