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Small amount of kidney damage may have large effects for diabetics

Category: Kidney Diseases

Individuals with type 1 diabetes may benefit from kidney testing, as a new study found that even a small amount of damage - which is common among those with the disease - significantly increases their risk of dying.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh tested 658 men and women for protein in the urine, an early sign of kidney damage. They then tracked participants' medical records for a period of 20 years.

They found that 23 percent of participants who exhibited signs of early kidney damage died during the course of the study. When compared to age- and sex-matched individuals in the general population, the mortality rate was 6.2 times higher.

"Early stages of kidney disease in type 1 diabetes may be very important because they can lead to a sizeable increase in the risk of death," said Aaron M. Secrest, who led the investigation. "The hopeful news is that this risk virtually disappears when kidneys remain healthy, which should encourage physicians to closely monitor kidney health in people with type 1 diabetes."

He recommended that doctors encourage more individuals with the disease to seek kidney testing to determine if they are at risk.
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