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Caffeine may prolong life for kidney disease patients

By Chukwuma Muanya, Assistant Editor
06 November 2017   |   3:44 am
Researchers found that patients with CKD who consumed the highest amounts of caffeine saw their mortality risk cut by almost a quarter, compared with those who consumed the lowest amounts.


Researchers say that caffeine may help patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) to live longer.

Chronic kidney disease is one of the leading causes of death. But a new study suggests a simple strategy that may help patients with the condition to improve their survival: drink more coffee.

Researchers found that patients with CKD who consumed the highest amounts of caffeine saw their mortality risk cut by almost a quarter, compared with those who consumed the lowest amounts.

Study co-author Dr. Bigotte Vieira, of the Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte in Portugal, and colleagues recently presented their findings at Kidney Week 2017 — the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology, held in New Orleans, LA.

CKD is a progressive condition wherein the kidneys gradually lose their ability to filter water and waste products from the blood. Over time, CKD may progress to kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease, making kidney transplantation or dialysis the only treatment options.

Numerous studies have hailed caffeine for its potential life-prolonging benefits, but Dr. Vieira and colleagues note that it is unclear whether or not patients with CKD may reap such rewards.

To find out, the researchers analyzed data from the 1999–2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, identifying 2,328 patients who had CKD.

Caffeine may help to lower the risk of death for women with diabetes, say researchers.

According to the team, these findings remained after accounting for participants’ age, gender, race, blood pressure, smoking status, body mass index (BMI), and many other possible confounders.

Dr. Vieira and team caution that because their study is observational, it is unable to prove cause and effect between higher caffeine consumption and reduced mortality in patients with CKD.

That said, the researchers believe that their results indicate that drinking an extra cup of joe or two each day may offer health benefits.

“These results suggest that advising patients with CKD to drink more caffeine may reduce their mortality. This would represent a simple, clinically beneficial, and inexpensive option, though this benefit should ideally be confirmed in a randomized clinical trial.”

Meanwhile, new research suggests it may increase risk of kidney disease and early death.

A new study links chronic insomnia with kidney decline and failure, as well as with the risk of early death in the case of United States veterans. Managing long-term sleeplessness may help to stave off such negative health outcomes, the researchers hypothesize.

Research has identified insomnia as the most common sleep disorder, with around 35.2 percent of adults in the United States reporting short nightly sleep duration, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Sleeplessness is also linked with a large number of health conditions, including depressive symptoms, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and Alzheimer’s, to name but a few. On the flip side, recent studies have emphasized the protective quality of a good night’s sleep when it comes to the chronic effects of stress.

A recent study from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, TN, United States (U.S.), now links insomnia with kidney function decline, kidney failure, and an increased mortality risk.

Drs. Csaba Kovesdy and Jun Ling Lu, the lead researchers involved with the study, focused on the risks posed by chronic insomnia to kidney health, and for this purpose they worked with a large cohort of U.S. veterans.

Their results were presented this week at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week 2017.

The researchers studied renal health and all-cause mortality outcomes for a nationwide group of 957,587 veterans with no kidney-related health issues at baseline. Of these, 41,928 participants had chronic insomnia.

To ensure the consistency of the results, adjustments were made for relevant impacting factors, including body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, comorbid conditions, and socioeconomic status.

During a median follow-up period of 6.1 years, 23.1 percent of the study participants died, while 2.7 percent exhibited an accelerated decline of kidney function. Also, 0.2 percent of the participants had kidney failure.

The researchers noted that chronic insomnia was tied to a 1.4 times higher risk of mortality for any cause, as well as a 1.5 times higher risk of kidney decline, and an even steeper increase in risk of kidney failure: 2.4 times.

These results indicate that consistent sleeplessness could play a role in the development of chronic kidney disease (CKD), as well as shorten life expectancy overall.

Among the known risk factors for CKD, researchers name obesity, smoking habits, diabetes, and hypertension. If the disease progresses, it could require dialysis or even a kidney transplant.

Dr. Kovesdy and team suggest that their study’s findings should lead to more attentive management of insomnia, as this might have wider reaching benefits in the long run, and help prevent the development of other chronic health conditions, such as CKD.

However, the researchers acknowledge that more in-depth studies are needed to confirm how effective actions targeting chronic insomnia would be in keeping other health conditions at bay.

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