Calcium based supplements are commonplace for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) patients, often used to bind high levels of phosphorus to avoid itching, skin sores, weakened bones, rigid blood vessels, heart failure, and death. Similarly, the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has recommended that Diabetics take calcium supplements which will lower their high risk of fractures, bone breaks and osteoporosis. Falls further compromise Diabetic and CKD patients' bone health because of vision problems and nerve damage.
Recommended Reading: Can "Too Many" Phosphorus Binders be Harmful to Chronic Kidney Disease Patients?
A recent study however, out of the University of California, Los Angeles found a clear link between calcium supplement pills and an increase in the risk of a heart attack. For that reason, CKD and Diabetic patients may talk to their Nephrologists and Primary Care Physicians regarding alternatives to regular calcium based supplements.
Diabetics should note that Dr. Karol Watson, UCLA’s Medical Center said, “There is absolutely no evidence that calcium from dietary sources like milk, green leafy vegetables [is harmful]... It’s only the calcium supplements that have been associated with harm.” A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D is important for healthy bones. Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products; dark green, leafy vegetables; and calcium-fortified foods and beverages. Many low-fat and low-sugar sources of calcium are available.
While CKD patients should not start adding large amounts of calcium to their diet, they can talk to their Nephrologists about non-calcium phosphate binders found to reduce mortality such as, Renogel. Also, a newly released medicine that lowers PTH, calcium, and phosphorus shows promise to help keep bones healthier in people with renal disease. It is still too early to know, but doctors hope this new therapy will help kidney patients to have healthier bones and lower the risk of calcification and heart problems.
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"Review: Non–calcium-based Phosphate Binders Reduce Mortality Compared with Calcium-based Binders in CKD." Http://annals.org/. Annals Of Internal Medicine.
Colman, Sara, RD, CDE. "Calcium and Chronic Kidney Disease." Http://www.davita.com/. DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc.
"What People With Diabetes Need to Know About Osteoporosis." What People With Diabetes Need to Know About Osteoporosis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases,
KFOR-TV & K. Querry. "Calcium Supplements: Are They worth the Risk to Your heart?" KFOR.com. KFOR.