Around the world, about 500 million people suffer with chronic kidney disease. Here in the United States, according to the National Kidney Foundation, more than 615,000 people have end-stage renal disease (ESRD). In 2011, more than 92,000 in the U.S. died from a kidney-related medical condition. A recent study suggests that too much red meat may damage the kidneys and raise the risk for kidney disease and kidney failure.
Specifically, the new findings suggest that a high level of red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of end-stage renal disease. Persons who are in the highest quartile of red meat intake have a forty percent higher risk of ESRD than those in the lowest quartile, according to researchers who recently published their findings in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. The research team found that fish, eggs, poultry, and dairy products are not linked with a higher risk of ESRD.
The team of researchers found that replacing red meat with poultry or fish means a 62.4 percent (for poultry) and a 48.6 percent (for fish) reduction of ESRD risk. “We embarked on our study to see what advice should be given to CKD patients or to the general population worried about their kidney health regarding types or sources of protein intake,” said Dr. Woon-Puay Koh, speaking for the American Society of Nephrology. “Our findings suggest that these individuals can still maintain protein intake but consider switching to plant-based sources; however, if they still choose to eat meat, fish/shellfish and poultry are better alternatives to red meat.”
HOW WAS THE KIDNEY DISEASE STUDY CONDUCTED?
Dr. Koh – a researcher at the National University of Singapore and the study’s senior author – and his colleagues studied 60,198 Chinese adults who participated in the Singapore Chinese Health Study. The participants, men and women aged 45–74 years, were permanent residents or citizens of Singapore. The Singapore Chinese Health Study, originally launched in 1993, was funded by a research grant from the National Cancer Institute. The research team found that ESRD developed in 951 individuals over a mean follow-up period of 15.5 years. The mean age at the time of ESRD diagnosis was 69.3 years.
Endogenous acid production from red meat consumption is among the likely explanations for the link between red meat and ESRD risk, according to researchers. They cited additional studies which indicate that high endogenous acid production was linked to a higher incidence of ESRD in U.S. adults with chronic kidney disease and that red meat generally yields more acid production than other proteins. “There is an increase in numbers of individuals developing chronic kidney disease worldwide, and many progress to end-stage renal disease, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant,” Dr. Koh wrote in an email to Reuters.
“Current guidelines recommend restricting dietary protein intake in patients with advanced chronic kidney disease to help reduce symptoms and slow progression to end-stage renal disease,” according to Dr. Koh. Although limiting the intake of protein can impair the progress of an existing kidney disease, little is currently known about whether protein, and red meat in particular, contributes to the risk for developing kidney disease in the first place, according to the research.
WHAT ACTUALLY CAUSES KIDNEY DISEASE?
Kidney disease has a number of diverse causes, and those causes include high blood pressure, infections, substance abuse, illnesses and injuries, and a poor or unbalanced diet. For some patients, the cause of a kidney disease may never be precisely identified. Many who suffer from kidney diseases would be healthier today, however, if their doctors had more quickly tested and referred them to kidney specialists.
With early and appropriate treatment, the progress of a kidney disease can often be stopped and even sometimes turned around. However, negligent medical treatment – medical malpractice – that victimizes kidney disease patients can put their lives in genuine danger, and that kind of medical malpractice is far too common in the United States. If your health has declined because a kidney disease was improperly diagnosed or improperly treated by a healthcare professional, speak with an experienced kidney diseases lawyer who exclusively focuses on the rights of kidney disease victims.
Kidney disease can happen to anyone, even if you genuinely strive hard to avoid it. Still, everyone can take some basic and simple precautions toward preventing kidney disease. The kinds of health measures that usually seem to be effective include a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, regular exercise, a sufficient amount of sleep, avoiding tobacco and limiting alcohol consumption, and making sure that you have routine medical check-ups.
WHAT OTHER HEALTH PRECAUTIONS SHOULD YOU TAKE?
Along with limiting your red meat intake, one vitally important key to healthy kidneys is hydration. Kidneys need plenty water to continue working properly. Drinking water before you get thirsty is the best way to avoid dehydration. Vitamin A also is imperative for healthy kidney function, but too much calcium or Vitamin C can cause kidney stones. Keeping track of your blood pressure is also vital. Moderately high blood pressure in middle age may contribute to future kidney disease and kidney failure, according to the National Kidney Foundation.
Kidney disease can be deadly if it goes undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, untreated, or wrongly treated. It doesn’t matter who you are – one in three adults in the United States are at risk for developing kidney disease, according to the National Kidney Foundation. If you’re over age sixty, or if you have a history of kidney disease in your family, see your doctor and take some simple tests for kidney disease to protect yourself. If detected early, kidney disease can be managed without great inconvenience, and patients can live quite normal lives.
When a patient is already suffering with a kidney disease, the failure to receive an accurate and early diagnosis and swift, proper treatment can lead directly to acute renal failure. If you are the victim of medical malpractice involving kidney disease, don’t wait. Discuss your circumstances right away with an experienced kidney diseases lawyer. You may be awarded full compensation for the medical malpractice, and you may help prevent other kidney disease victims from becoming victimized a second time – by medical malpractice – in the future.