Insomnia Linked to Kidney Failure and Early Death

INSOMNIA may have detrimental effects on kidney health, suggests new research presented at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week. Researchers reported that the disorder was linked to a decline in kidney function and early death. Chronic insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, with 35.2% of adults in the USA reported to have short sleep duration, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A team of researchers led by Dr Csaba Kovesdy and Dr Jun Ling Lu, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, studied the renal function and mortality cause in a group of 957,587 veterans. All participants had normal kidney function at the start of the study. Within the cohort, 41,928 presented with chronic insomnia.

The patients were followed-up for a median of 6.1 years; 2.7% and 0.2% of individuals within the study period showed accelerated decline in kidney function and kidney failure, respectively. Furthermore, 23.1% of the veterans died during the follow-up period. Chronic insomnia was found to be associated with a 1.4-fold higher risk of death, alongside a 1.5-fold higher risk of kidney function loss, and a 2.4-fold higher risk of total kidney failure.

In summary, these results indicate that consistent sleeplessness could lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD), leaving affected individuals in need of dialysis or even kidney transplantation, and ultimately a shorter life expectancy. Investigations into this condition are of particular importance due to its prevalence. Indeed, data from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases report that around 14% of the USA population have CKD. Other risk factors that predispose an individual to the disease include obesity, diabetes, smoking, and hypertension.

“Attention to its proper management could have long-ranging positive effects,” said Dr Kovesdy regarding chronic insomnia, and suggests that it could potentially assist the prevention of other chronic conditions like CKD. The team appreciate the fact that more in-depth research is needed into whether the treatment of chronic insomnia would be a preventative measure for conditions. “This hypothesis will need to be examined in dedicated prospective studies, including clinical trials” concluded Dr Kovesdy.

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