03/17/2010 - Articles

Kidney failure linked to silent stroke in people with diabetes

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Kidney failure is one of the major health problems that people with type 2 diabetes may face as their disease progresses. A new study shows that so-called silent cerebral infarctions (SCIs), otherwise known as ‘silent strokes,’ could be an indicator of kidney failure among diabetics. The study, from researchers at Shiga University School of Medicine, Japan, involved 608 patients with type 2 diabetes who had no obvious symptoms of kidney failure like protein in the urine. Nor did they have complications like stroke or heart disease. They underwent magnetic resonance imaging of the brain which showed that about 29% had SCI.

In long term follow up, those with SCI had a higher risk of kidney failure. Compared to those with normal scans, those with SCI were two and a half times more likely to die or develop end-stage kidney disease. Their risk of declining kidney function or need for dialysis was five times greater. The researchers agree that protein in the urine is the most common marker of kidney failure in diabetes. But some patients get decreased kidney function without having protein in the urine. This study suggests that subtle brain damage, SCI, detectable on a magnetic resonance image scan can detect those at risk of kidney failure independent of protein in the urine. It may be that small vessel disease in the brain is indicative of a similar problem in the kidneys.



Uzu T et al Cerebral microvascular disease predicts renal failure in type 2 diabetes Journal of the American Society of Nephrology Online January 28 2010; doi 10.1681/ASN.2009050558


Created on: 03/17/2010
Reviewed on: 03/17/2010

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