Obese Teenagers at Higher Risk for Kidney Damage Or Abnormal Kidney Function

Obese Teenagers at Higher Risk for Kidney Damage Or Abnormal Kidney Function

According to a new study by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, one in 5 severely obese teenagers show abnormal kidney function. This study was presented on April 25 at the National Kidney Foundation’s 2014 Spring Clinical Meeting. This is the first study to document kidney function associated with a large group of obese teenagers.

According to their study, nearly 18% of these teens showed early signs of kidney damage or disease. The study’s researchers focused on determining whether or not bariatric surgery would help to either reduce or slow the damage being done.

The study’s researchers found that one key tests that used measure albumin, a protein type, in the urine. A healthy kidney will filter the protein, but damaged ones would not. Doctors use a glomerular filtration rate tests to estimate how quickly any filtered fluid would flow through kidneys. A GFR reading of over 90 would showcase normal kidney function, while a reading less than 9 would show progressive loss of kidney function and some extent of damage. A GFR that was too high, usually found in both obese children, teenagers and adults, would indicate hyperfiltration, meaning that the kidneys themselves are working too hard. Having this condition for too long could lead to protein leakage into the urine.

The study found that in 242 teenagers studied (that were enrolled in the Teen-Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery study), that 17% had protein in their urine, 3 had abnormally low GFR readings and 7% had abnormally high GFR readings. Dr. Nianzhou was the main doctor on the study.

Nianzhou and the other study’s researchers found that teenagers with a higher body mass index as well as those sensitive to blood sugar-regulating insulin, were much more likelky to have abnormally low GFR readings. Females were also more likely than men to have protein in their urine as were non-Caucasian teenagers.

The study conflicts with other studies that believe that severe obesity does not affect children as much as they think. However, this study proves otherwise.

According to Dr. Beth Piraino, President of the National Kidney Foundation, if left untreated obesity during teenage years is associated with a higher rate of chronic kidney disease and other serious health conditions well into adulthood. According to Piraino, the lifetime cost of medical care for obese children is $19,000 more than the cost of healthy weight children. This was published in a recent study in the April 7 issue of the Pediatric medical journal. Based on these numbers, a total of $14 billion extra money total is spent by parents of obese teenagers then average weight ones.


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