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Climate Change Linked to Chronic Kidney Disease

Researchers from University of Colorado recently published an assessment outlining a link between climate change and chronic kidney disease (CKD).

There have recently been epidemics of CKD in hot rural regions of the world, including the Americas, Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This paper reviewed existing literature to make a case for heat stress nephropathy, a type of CKD caused by recurrent exposure to high temperatures and inadequate hydration, hence the link to climate change. Heat stress nephropathy is distinct from that caused by hypertension, diabetes or Glomerulonephritis.

The results of the review found higher levels of CKD, especially in those who work in agriculture, in rapidly warming areas when compared to nearby areas with similar agricultural intensity but cooler temperatures. Patients with CKD are more susceptible to various environmental toxins and other health threats including diabetes and kidney failure.

Richard Johnson, a kidney disease expert and professor of medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and co-author of the paper, stated in a journal news release that heat stress nephropathy "may be one of the first epidemics due to global warming.”

The full paper was published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, and can be found here

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