A leading cause of death in Chronic Kidney Disease patients is plaque build up in their arteries and veins which causes their hearts to stop functioning as well - creating Cardiovascular (Heart-related) complications, especially in those who conduct Dialysis. Calcified Blood Vessels (happens when calcium builds up in body tissue, blood vessels, or organs) is a common complication in Chronic Kidney Disease patients and is a direct predictor of deaths. Cardiovascular complications are taking far too many lives of Dialysis patients. Shockingly, according to Science Daily, "nearly half of the deaths that occur [in Dialysis patients] are caused by Cardiovascular Disease." Clearly, this is a very serious problem for the Chronic Kidney Disease Community and it must be addressed. Well, Washington University School of Medicine Researchers have suggested that they have done just that - revealing findings that could improve Dialysis patient survival.
Let's put this into context, the National Kidney Foundation noted that in one year, "more than 47,000 Americans died from Kidney Disease." USA Today was a bit more grim and suggested that "one in five Dialysis patients (600,000 people in the United States conduct Dialysis) die every year." Hence, it is critical to address and solve the Vascular Calcification crisis to reduce heart complications in the Chronic Kidney Disease Community and boost survival rates.
The good news is that scientists have recently identified a type of stem cell in the body that actually causes the calcification and hardening of blood vessels. With this, Researchers will be guided into ways to block minerals from building up inside blood vessels and exacerbating (worsening) the calcifying and hardening of the arteries and veins in Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients.
Dr. Benjamin D. Humphreys (Lead Researcher & Director of the Division of Nephrology) said, "In the past, this calcification process was viewed as passive -- just mineral deposits that stick to the walls of vessels, like minerals sticking to the walls of water pipes. More recently, we've learned that calcification is an active process directed by cells." Since they now understand which cells are "clogging up" blood vessels with mineral deposits, Dr. Humphreys boldly stated, "We can begin testing ways to block this process. A drug that works against these cells could be a new therapeutic way to treat Vascular Calcification, a major killer of patients with Kidney Disease."
This news is extremely promising! Imagine being able to lead a longer life while conducting Dialysis? Even if you are awaiting a Kidney Transplant, these findings are important since the waiting list is getting longer-and-longer, and some Dialysis patients are removed from the list because of their decreasing heart health.
Recommended Reading: Can "Too Many" Phosphorus Binders be Harmful to Chronic Kidney Disease Patients?
If you would like more information on the progress of this exciting research or you would simply like to show your support for Dr. Humphreys research and findings, then complete the below form.
Frequently, Dialysis patients will become sad and disillusioned about the idea of living life on Dialysis. A major concern among patients is their survival. One patient wrote, "I am depressed every day. I am faced with my own mortality every day. Sometimes I feel like giving up." Well, these findings certainly help patients realize that there is still a lot of hope. Keep fighting! Major breakthroughs to help Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients improve their quality of life and longevity are increasing. Be sure to share this article with your family and friends who could use an emotional lift. We at KidneyBuzz.com will keep you up-to-date every step of the way.
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