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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

This Triggers Kidney Disease in African Americans (But Doesn't for Other Races!)

Man with kidney disease

Recent research shows that kidney disease is another disease that discriminates. Black Americans carry a gene that puts them at increased risk for kidney disease, according to a recent study in Chicago. Half of those carrying the gene don't know they have it.

A protein that threatens African Americans more

The study, which took place at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, examined blood samples from 1,000 blacks who had elevated levels of a protein called suPAR. Everyone has suPAR in their blood, which is produced by bone marrow cells, but the elevated levels found in African Americans can trigger the start and progression of chronic kidney disease. Other races do not have the elevated level.

But wait... there's more!

In addition to the increased levels of suPAR in African Americans, the risk of kidney disease can increase by certain life styles. These include smoking, obesity, and chronic infections. The study shed light on the need for African Americans in particular, with their higher risk, to maintain a healthy life style. This includes eating healthy, exercising, and staying away from tobacco products.

The study, which was published June 26 in the journal Nature Medicine, could lead to new treatments for chronic kidney disease that target these risk factors, according to senior study author Dr. Jochen Reiser, chair of the internal medicine department at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

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