A long-term study conducted by the University of Innsbruck examined the risk factors for kidney failure and therefore for dialysis treatment. This shows that it’s not just about being overweight; more relevant are insulin resistance, blood pressure – and especially uric acid levels.
How important are individual risk factors for kidney health? Scientists at the Medical University of Innsbruck have now calculated this and it has been shown that what the scale shows is apparently not the only deciding factor when it comes to assessing long-term risk. term of irreparable kidney failure requiring dialysis. “What is relevant is what the uric acid and blood pressure measurements and the TyG index show,” said a statement from the Austrian university. The TyG index (“triglyceride glucose index”) is a relatively new parameter composed of triglycerides and glucose. In this combination, it gives a significant reading of insulin resistance in the body.
Dialysis and Transplant Registry Data
For their investigation, the researchers used data from 100,269 people who underwent a medical examination in Vorarlberg between 1985 and 2005. The researchers compared the results of the first check, which dates back an average of 23 years, with entries from the register Dialysis and Transplantation Austrian. Using complex mediation analysis, scientists at the Institute for Medical Statistics and Informatics calculated the overall effect of obesity and the effect of individual influencing factors on an impending need for dialysis.
Dialysis: the danger lies in the metabolic parameters
With a share of just one percent, obesity alone as a risk factor is therefore negligible. However, the indirect risk factors related to the body’s metabolic activity are important: increased TyG value, increased cholesterol, high blood pressure, increased uric acid.
Uric Acid Levels: Surprisingly Risky for Kidney Health
The study resulted in the following weighting: high blood pressure at age 24 and a high TyG index of 33% are – as expected – key risk factors, each contributing about a third to the risk of kidney failure due to overweight and obesity. What surprised scientists is that high levels of uric acid, at 30%, have an equally important influence. According to a statement by the Austrian researchers, this factor has so far hardly been considered in the specialist literature. On the other hand, the risk potential of high cholesterol (2%) is very low.
Need for dialysis: the profile of risk factors is crucial
Ultimately, the profile of risk factors is decisive for the long-term risk of dialysis, explains head of statistics Hanno Ulmer referring to the figures: “While people of normal weight with risk factors have 4.5 times higher risk than normal weight people with no risk factors, obese people with no risk factors only have about twice the risk – but with risk factors, 5 risk .8 times higher.
A healthy lifestyle and therapies can minimize the risk of dialysis
Despite all the possible dangers, Austrian scientists also have a positive message: risk factors for long-term kidney failure have little to do with fate. “All risk factors can be modified through lifestyle changes and/or appropriate therapy,” explain the Innsbruck researchers. Weight loss is an important factor in kidney health, but normal weight is no guarantee. Even in people of normal weight, an unhealthy metabolic status with high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and increased uric acid increases the risk of dialysis. Overweight and obesity have further aggravated the situation.
Chief physician and nephrologist Emanuel Zitt, who participated in the study, says of the chances of prevention: “Normal weight, normal blood pressure and healthy metabolism, on the other hand, are probably a very high guarantee of lifelong absence of dialysis. .”