Rheumatoid arthritis patients are at an increased risk for chronic kidney disease. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have found that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients have a higher risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) along with an increase in inflammation within the first year of diagnosis, corticosteroid usage, hypertension, and obesity. The researchers recommend that rheumatoid arthritis patients be tested periodically for signs of kidney problems. Patients should also work to manage blood pressure by avoiding high-salt diets and scaling back on medications that can harm the kidneys.
The study looked at 813 Mayo Clinic patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 813 patients without the condition. Over the course of 20 years, rheumatoid arthritis patients had a one in four chance of developing chronic kidney disease, in comparison to the general public who had a one in five chance.
Senior author Dr. Eric Matteson said, “That might not seem like a lot, but in fact that’s quite a big difference, and it has important implications for the course of rheumatoid arthritis and for the management of the disease.”
Heart disease was also found to be common in rheumatoid arthritis patients with chronic kidney disease.
Risk factors in rheumatoid arthritis patients for developing chronic kidney disease include corticosteroid use, severe inflammation, obesity, hypertension, and abnormally high cholesterol.
Dr. Matteson noted that there are currently no treatment guidelines for chronic kidney disease in rheumatoid arthritis, but he warns that doctors should be mindful of the medications they put RA patients on to reduce their risk of CKD. Furthermore, RA patients should undergo routine blood work and urine analysis to monitor kidney function. “Kidney disease in patients with rheumatoid arthritis…