Chronic kidney disease has been linked to heart attack in the past, but a new study published in the online journal The Lancet has found even stronger evidence to support the theory. Apparently, the chances of patients diagnosed with the disease getting a heart attack are just as high as those of heart attack survivors.

For the study, researchers looked at the incidence of heart attack and death among 1.3 million people in Canada who have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, heart attack, diabetes, or a mix of all three. Based on the results, the risk of patients with chronic kidney disease, diabetes, or a combination of the two was equivalent to the risk of patients who had already had a heart attack before.

"Chronic kidney disease patients have substantially higher rates of death from heart disease after a heart attack than the general population, which emphasizes the potential value of preventing coronary events through drug treatment and lifestyle interventions," says lead researcher Dr. Marcello Tonelli of the University of Alberta. "The rate of death from heart disease among people with chronic kidney disease was similar to or higher than the rate of death among people with diabetes--in whom the value of preventive treatments is well known."

While the results may help doctors identify patients who are at risk of getting a heart attack, nothing is 100 percent conclusive. The study, though extensive in sample size, has not accounted for other factors like medication and high blood pressure. For more information about possible risks, it’s best to make an appointment with your doctor.

(Photo by Olivier Kaderli via Flickr Creative Commons)

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