Traditional and emerging cardiovascular and renal risk factors: an epidemiologic perspective

Kidney Int. 2006 Jul;70(1):26-33. doi: 10.1038/ Epub 2006 May 24.


Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) represent an important segment of the population (7-10%) and, mostly because of the high risk of cardiovascular complications associated with renal insufficiency, detection and treatment of CKD is now a public health priority. Traditional risk factors can incite renal dysfunction and cardiovascular damage as well. As renal function deteriorates, non-traditional risk factors play an increasing role both in glomerular filtration rate (GFR) loss and cardiovascular damage. Secondary analyses of controlled clinical trials suggest that inflammation may be a modifiable risk factor both for cardiac ischemia and renal disease progression in patients with or at risk of coronary heart disease. Homocysteine predicts renal function loss in the general population and cardiovascular events in end-stage renal disease (ESRD), but evidence that this sulfur amino acid is directly implicated in the progression of renal disease and in the high cardiovascular mortality of uremic patients is still lacking. High sympathetic activity and raised plasma concentration of asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) have been associated to reduced GFR in patients with CKD and to cardiovascular complications in those with ESRD but again we still lack clinical trials targeting these risk factors. Presently, the clinical management of CKD patients remains largely unsatisfactory because only a minority of these attain the treatment goals recommended by current guidelines. Thus, in addition to research into new and established risk factors, it is important that nephrologists make the best use of knowledge already available to optimize the follow-up of these patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis
  • Renal Insufficiency / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors


  • Nitric Oxide