Obese Young Adults More Prone to Kidney Disease, Despite Being Healthy

'Obese young female'

Researchers found that many obese young adults have early symptoms of kidney disease despite being clinically healthy.

A recent study has found that young adults diagnosed with obesity have a higher risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) than the general population, despite being healthy. The research also found that most of these people are unaware of the risk.

For the study, Albert Einstein College of Medicine scientists sifted through the medical records of about 7,000 young adults. The team learned that 11 percent of obese Latinos of Mexican origin residing in the U.S. had higher than normal levels of albumin in their urine.

Albuminuria, as the condition is being called, is a sure sign that the patient is affected by or about to develop kidney disease. The albumin levels were four times more elevated in obese Mexicans than in Latinos of normal weight.

Obese African American and white participants also had high levels of albumin in their systems.

According to official reports, about one-third of Americans is likely to develop CKD at some point in their lives. Dr. Michal L. Melamed, lead author of the study and epidemiologist at Einstein, noted that CKD usually occurs in the elderly but it can have an early debut as well and the patients not even know it.

Dr. Melamed believes that preventing the disease is the best course of action since there aren’t many treatment options for CKD patients at the moment. The researcher recommends young adults to engage in a healthy lifestyle if they plan to stave off kidney disease later on.

Past studies had also found a link between abdominal obesity and higher risk of impaired kidney function. Those studies found a link even in obese patients that weren’t previously diagnosed with high blood pressure and diabetes, two conditions which can also alter kidney function.

Study authors sought a link between abdominal obesity in healthy young adults and increased risk of kidney disease. They also planned to look for risk factors including ethnicity and its role in developing the condition.

The study revealed that even obese healthy adults with normal blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and insulin metabolism had high levels of albumin in their urine. Study authors concluded that in this case the only risk factor was their obesity.

Researchers now recommend physicians to screen their young adult patients for kidney damage whenever they have an abdominal obesity diagnosis. A person is affected by abdominal obesity whenever their waist circumference is larger than 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women.

About 45 percent of African Americans, 37 percent of Caucasians and 40 percent of Hispanics involved in the study were diagnosed with abdominal obesity .

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