- Reviewed by Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
More than one in seven adults have chronic kidney disease, which means their kidneys aren't working as well as they should. Yet many of them aren't aware of the problem. Early-stage kidney disease often has no symptoms, but the condition slowly and silently worsens over time — and is closely connected to cardiovascular disease.
The two most common causes of chronic kidney disease — high blood pressure and diabetes — are also leading risk factors for heart disease. "The underlying causes and the treatment approaches for kidney and heart disease often overlap," says Dr. Martina McGrath, a transplant nephrologist at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital. In fact, most people with chronic kidney disease will die of heart disease before they develop kidney failure and require dialysis, (the use of a machine to do the kidneys' job of filtering the blood), she adds.
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About the Author
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
About the Reviewer
Christopher P. Cannon, MD, Editor in Chief, Harvard Heart Letter; Editorial Advisory Board Member, Harvard Health Publishing
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