You can now add a new potential sickness to the long list of problems that are connected to air pollution and the environment: kidney disease. Studies conducted in the past have connected high levels of the fine particulate matter also known as PM 2.5 to cardiovascular diseases and stroke. A new report, from the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, after 2,482,737 veterans for a median of eight and a half years. The Department of Veterans Affairs database includes information on glomerular filtration rate, or G.F.R., a measure of kidney function.
Collecting and utilizing on air pollution from NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency also called the EPA, the researchers discovered that advances in PM 2.5 paralleled directly with declines in G.F.R. signaling worsening kidney function. PM 2.5 particles are tiny enough to enter the bloodstream where they then move their way to the kidneys, which are specifically immune to injury from pollutants.
The scientists compute that “unhealthy” pollution levels lead to an annual gain of 44,793 cases of chronic kidney disease, and 2,438 cases of end-stage kidney disease demanding dialysis. Also, even levels under those labeled “safe” increased risk.
The senior author, Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly, who’s currently an assistant professor of medicine at Washington University in St. Louis, stated that diabetes and hypertension are still the main catalysts of kidney disease. Though, he stated, “Air pollution is a previously unrecognized factor for kidney disease and kidney disease progression.”