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Diabetes, Kidney Disease Linked to High CV Risks in African Americans

Mary Caffrey
For African Americans in poor Mississippi counties, having diabetes and kidney disease in combination lead to cardiovascular death rates that were on par with underdeveloped nations.
A study from Mississippi has found that African Americans living with diabetes and kidney disease, which are both common among this population, may raise the risk of death from cardiovascular causes.

Findings are scheduled to appear in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephology. Researchers from the University of Washington and the University of Mississippi Medical Center examined data from 3211 African Americans enrolled at baseline in the Jackson Heart Study from 2000 to 2004. After a median follow-up of 7 years, the researchers found the following:

·         Participants who had diabetes, kidney disease, or both had excess risk of CV mortality; and the risk increased when the person had both conditions. Diabetes increased the risk 2.4%, kidney disease 7.3%, and those with both had 14.8% increased risk, after adjusting for other clinical and demographic factors.

·         Having both diseases was associated with a 3.3-fold higher rate of coronary heart disease and a 6.2-fold higher rate of stroke.

African Americans in Mississippi’s low-income counties have higher rates of adverse CV outcomes than any other subpopulation in the country—including among other African Americans, according to Maryam Afkarian, MD, PhD, of the University of Washington.

Rates of CV mortality, “are comparable to those in some of the most underprivileged parts of the globe,” she said.

The study was designed to find out how the combination of diabetes and kidney disease—which are both quite common among this population—lead to higher than normal rates of CV disease and death. Doing so is key, because reducing cardiovascular death can only occur by identifying the factors that cause it, Afkarian said.


Afkarian M, Katz R, Bansal N, et al. Diabetes, kidney disease and cardiovascular outcomes in the Jackson Heart Study [published online June 23, 2016]. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2016.  doi: 10.2215/​CJN.13111215

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