Mayo Clinic research indicates that patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are more likely than the average person to develop chronic kidney disease. A statement from the Mayo Clinic suggests that more severe inflammation in the first year of RA, corticosteroid use, high blood pressure, and obesity are among the risk factors.

The statement reports that researchers studied a total of 813 Mayo Clinic patients with RA and 813 without it. During a 20-year period, the researchers found that individuals with RA exhibit a one in four chance of developing chronic kidney disease when compared with the general population’s one in five risk. Additionally, heart disease is more common in RA patients who have chronic kidney disease, according to Eric Matteson, MD, senior author, Mayo rheumatology chair.

Matteson adds that currently, there are no medical guidelines for the management of chronic kidney disease in RA. To this end, Matteson cautions physicians to exercise caution in the medications provided to RA patients. Blood tests and urine analysis should also be given to RA patients once a year or more often to detect kidney issues, depending upon the medications they are taking and on other conditions they may have such as diabetes and high blood pressure, Matteson says.

To reduce the risk of kidney disease, Matteson emphasizes that patients should be attentive to their blood pressure and keep it under control, maintaining a diet that is not high in salt, avoiding or reducing medications that are directly toxic to the kidneys, and getting their RA and inflammation under as good of control as possible.

In the conclusion of the statement, Matteson says additional research is planned in order to understand contributions to kidney disease in RA and how to intervene to reduce the risk.

Source: Mayo Clinic