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Study Finds Increased Rate of Kidney Damage in People Living With Both HIV and Diabetes

By Warren Tong

September 27, 2011

According to a recent study, U.S. researchers found an increased rate of kidney damage in HIV-positive individuals who also have diabetes.

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An early indicator of kidney damage is albuminuria, a buildup of a certain type of protein in the urine. Of the 73 study participants who had both HIV and type 2 diabetes, 34 percent had albuminuria, compared to 13 percent in the 82 participants with HIV only and 16 percent in 61 participants with type 2 diabetes only.

This finding is especially important since several other studies have suggested that people living with HIV may be at a higher risk for diabetes. The study also noted that kidney damage was more common in HIV-positive individuals who had higher viral loads. In addition, a number of antiretrovirals and other medications taken by people with HIV are associated with an increased risk of kidney damage.

Ultimately, these risks can lead to kidney disease, which happens when the kidneys lose the ability to properly control and filter the body's fluids, allowing waste and toxins to build up in the body. Kidney disease can lead to a myriad of other health conditions ranging from heart disease to nerve damage.

The AIDS Beacon reported:

"The important message from this study is to raise awareness about the high prevalence of albuminuria [a marker of kidney damage] among health care providers for individuals with HIV and diabetes," said Dr. Colleen Hadigan, a researcher at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and senior author of the study.

"As this is an important marker of early kidney injury, it can be used to screen patients, and the standard of care for use of [blood pressure lowering] treatments in this setting in diabetes should be followed whenever possible in those with HIV and diabetes," she added.

In addition, she said that people with HIV should make sure that their viral loads (amount of HIV in the blood) are well controlled with antiretroviral therapy. ...

... People with HIV are at an increased risk of kidney disease because the virus interferes with the kidneys' ability to function correctly. People with advanced HIV who have a low CD4 (white blood cell) count and a high viral load are at greater risk for developing kidney disease. Older people with HIV are also at greater risk of kidney disease.

See the full study in the journal PLoS ONE.

Warren Tong is the research editor for TheBody.com and TheBodyPRO.com.

Follow Warren on Twitter: @WarrenAtTheBody.


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