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Apple-Shaped Figure and Muffin Top Increases Risk of Kidney Disease: Study

Update Date: Apr 11, 2013 09:48 PM EDT

People with "apple-shaped" bodies or "muffin-tops" are more predisposed to an increased risk of kidney disease and developing cardiovascular problems later on in life, according to a new study released Thursday.

This research, in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, found signs of kidney problems in even otherwise healthy apple-shaped people who tend to store more fat in the abdominal area. The study measured blood flow through the kidneys of 315 men and women with an average body mass index of 24.9 kg/m2 in the Netherlands. A body mass index of 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2 is considered normal weight. Those who had higher waist-to-hip ratios, meaning they tended to store more fat around their bellies compared to their thighs, also had higher blood pressure within the kidneys.

"We found that apple-shaped persons-even if totally healthy and with a normal blood pressure-have an elevated blood pressure in their kidneys. When they are also overweight or obese, this is even worse," said Kwakernaak.

The findings suggest that these individuals may benefit from treatments that reduce kidney blood pressure - which include reducing sodium intake and discontinuing certain drug treatments.

Previous studies have shown that high blood pressure in the kidneys can be treated through salt restriction or with drugs that block what is known as the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. "Our current data suggest that such interventions could be particularly useful in subjects with a central body fat distribution," said Kwakernaak.

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