Scientists Look For Likely Causes For Chronic Kidney Disease ‘epidemic’

New study suggests that a mixture of high heat, toxins, and infections can be the reason for the increase widespread of chronic kidney disease in agriculture workers.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) includes the slow demise of kidney function. Kidneys maintain in keeping the body healthy by purifying harmful liquids and waste items from the blood. When the kidney’s purpose is weakened, these products add up in the body and become the reason for chronic kidney disease.

Those with CKD can suffer high blood pressure, anemia, brittle bones, and nerve damage. Furthermore, kidney failure surges the risk of cardiovascular disease. These difficulties develop slowly over a long period. The causes of this disease consist of diabetes and high blood pressure, two reasons which are the in charge of up to two-thirds of the cases. Diagnosis and treatment done at an early stage can avoid many difficulties. High blood pressure can cause CKD, which would further be the reason to having high bloody pressure.

In the opinion of the National Kidney Foundation, 30 million adults in USA suffer from CKD and millions are potent to this disease. Heart disease is the major cause of death for all individuals suffering.

Looking for significant causes of CKD epidemic

Lately, CKD has been common among workers in hot weathers. In the 1990s, this disease impacted sugarcane workers in Central America. In 2012, 20000 individuals in California, Florida and Colorado died from CKD, but the cause was unaware till now.

Researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz (CU Anschutz) Medical Campus tried to find all the accessible studies to gather the information and look for certain gaps in the research. The results are to be seen in the New England Journal of Medicine.

It was found by the research team that the agriculture workers, such as those working with sugarcane, cotton and corn, also including shrimp farmers and miners and a possibility to become infected with the disease as in contract to those who labour at higher altitudes. It was believed by the researchers that high temperatures, because of climate change and pesticides such as glyphosate can have a major role in this chronic disease “epidemic”.

Sri Lankan farmers vulnerable to glyphosate indicated a high risk of CKD. Investigation for heavy metals, such as lead and cadmium which are ordinary culprits of kidney injury in Sri Lanka and Central America. Dr. Lee Newman, MA, who is also the director of the Center for Health, Work & Environment and a professor in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health at the Colorado School of Public Health, led the team.

“Some pesticides are nephrotoxic, and these could possibly contaminate the water supply. Indeed, there are studies showing the epidemic in Sri Lanka is greatest in areas where there are shallow wells in which toxins might become concentrated,” mentions Dr. Richard Johnson, from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and co-author of the study.

The other likely reasons, which are known among sugarcane workers, consist of infection diseases that can impact the kidneys, for example hantavirus and leptospirosis and genetic factors. Dr. Newman also mentioned that heat exposure, heavy labor, and persistent dehydration are also culprits.’

CKD ‘epidemic’ is disseminating quick

The disease is making an entrance in USA and impacting rural workers in Florida, California and Colorado. Dr. Newman mentions that “this is not the usual kidney disease [because] it is not caused by high blood pressure or diabetes.”

“It is my opinion that climate change plays a role in this epidemic,” Dr. Johnson adds. He indicates that CU Anschutz is observing the health of workers and how climate change is affecting the disease. Talking about the prevalence of the disease among rural workers, Dr. Johnson mentions: “They are the people who feed the planet. […] If climate change continues like this who is going to feed us?”

The conclusion of the new study advises that the main reason of this CKD epidemic may be a mixture of climate change, toxins, and infections.

Drs. Newman and Johnson have belief that hospitals need to take steps to avoid the epidemic disease by making sure that workers get proper breaks, stay hydrated and get some vitamin D from the sun. Dr. Johnson and colleagues end by saying:

“When clinicians detect clusters of patients with [CKD] who work for the same employer or in similar jobs, they should contact occupational health and safety and public health professionals to promote investigations of workplace conditions.”