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Air pollution causes 10 million cases of kidney disease per year

Environmental issues such as air pollution and climate change are becoming increasingly serious public health risks. A new analysis has found that air pollution is responsible for 10.7 million cases of chronic kidney disease (CKD) each year due to the inhalation of fine particulate matter.

Benjamin Bowe of the Clinical Epidemiology Center collaborated with other experts to estimate the burden of chronic kidney disease attributable to air pollution. Epidemiologic measurements showed that the global burden varies greatly by geography, with higher values seen in Central America and South Asia.

“Air pollution might at least partially explain the rise in incidence of CKD of unknown origin in many geographies around the world, and the rise in Mesoamerican nephropathy in Mexico and Central America,” said Bowe.

While studies have linked exposure to fine particulate matter with cardiovascular disease and stroke for some time, the association between air pollution and chronic kidney disease is a fairly recent development which was previously described by Bowe and his team.

A study from NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency found that exposure to fine particulate matter air pollution levels considered to be “safe” still increases the risk of chronic kidney disease.

Chronic kidney disease is a condition in which kidney function is gradually lost over the course of several years. While there is no cure, treatment is aimed at slowing the process of the disease. Chronic kidney disease often goes undetected and undiagnosed because symptoms are not very noticeable until the disease has advanced.

The research by Bowe’s team will be presented at the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) Kidney Week 2017 in New Orleans.

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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