Kidney disease patients on dialysis often have impaired HDL cholesterol. Although higher levels of HDL cholesterol are well-known for helping ward off heart disease, the same doesn’t hold true for kidney disease patients on dialysis.
The researchers analyzed blood samples from 24 hemodialysis patients, 14 peritoneal dialysis patients, and 20 healthy controls. They found that enzyme activities involved in HDL cholesterol metabolism and development were significantly altered among dialysis patients. HDL cholesterol function was also compromised. Furthermore, the longer a person was on dialysis, the greater the HDL ability to transport cholesterol was affected.
Lead researcher Dr. Gunther Marsche said, “These new findings suggest that chronic inflammation associated with kidney disease markedly alters the composition and decreases the function of HDL. Our findings may provide novel clues into the molecular links of kidney disease and heart disease.”
Heart disease is commonly seen among chronic kidney disease patients. Many patients develop heart disease prior to their kidney disease diagnosis. The association between kidney disease and heart disease has much to do with the fact that the two conditions share many common risk factors, such as high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, and lack of physical activity.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among kidney disease patients. Hence, managing cholesterol levels in those with chronic kidney disease is imperative, particularly if there’s heart disease comorbidity. Lifestyle adjustments is a good first step towards preventing cardiovascular complications and improving overall health.
The good news is, the same lifestyle adjustments aimed at improving kidney health can also help improve cholesterol levels. If you want to keep your kidneys healthy and maintain normal cholesterol levels, you should quit smoking, exercise regularly, eat healthy (avoiding sugar, processed food, saturated fat, etc.), lose excess weight, minimize alcohol intake or stop drinking altogether, keep your blood pressure within a healthy range, control diabetes, and take medications as prescribed.
By following these tips, you can have greater success in maintaining healthy kidneys and achieving healthy cholesterol numbers.