Taking care of your heart may also help your kidneys, a new study suggests.
The researchers looked at more than 14,800 adults, between the ages of 45 and 64, who were grouped by how closely they followed the American Heart Association ideals for heart health. Those ideals — dubbed Life’s Simple 7 — include healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, diet and body weight, as well as getting sufficient exercise and not smoking.
After an average follow-up of 22 years, one-third of participants who began the study with none of the ideals had developed chronic kidney disease, compared to 6.5 percent of participants who had at least six of the heart health ideals.
While smoking, body fat, physical activity, blood pressure and blood sugar were associated with kidney disease risk, cholesterol and diet were not, the researchers found.
The findings were published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association.
“This study was the first to show that for people who are generally healthy, a higher number of ideal Life’s Simple 7 health factors is associated with a reduced risk of new-onset kidney disease,” study author Casey Rebholz said in a journal news release. Rebholz is an assistant professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.
“Attaining ideal cardiovascular health as defined by the AHA Life’s Simple 7 metric may have substantial benefit for preventing the development of kidney disease. Recommending these ideal health factors may be effective as a population-wide strategy for kidney disease prevention,” she added.
However, the study only proved an association between the Simple 7 lifestyle factors and kidney disease risk, and not a cause-and-effect link.
The U.S. National Kidney Disease Education Program has more on keeping your kidneys healthy.