advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Does High Cholesterol Harm Your Kidneys?

I was concerned when I read that you're more susceptible to kidney disease if your "good" cholesterol is low. What's the connection and what can you do about it?

A
Answer (Published 8/22/2003)

(Updated 1/25/2005)

Results of a study from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston reported in the August, 2003 issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology showed that apparently healthy men with low HDL ("good") cholesterol, and high LDL ("bad") or cholesterol and triglycerides, have twice the normal risk of reduced kidney function. The study included more than 4,000 initially healthy men whose blood levels were checked an average of 14 years apart. The findings were alarming because reduced kidney function can lead to kidney failure, a chronic life-threatening condition that makes one susceptible to malnutrition, anemia and bleeding, hypertension, seizures, neuropathy, and a host of other dangerous metabolic disorders. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), between 10 and 20 million Americans have early-stage kidney disease. Because failing kidneys often don't cause any obvious initial symptoms, many people have no idea that they're affected. Once detected, controlling one's diet, blood pressure and cholesterol may help slow the loss of kidney function while reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke. The only treatments for kidney failure are dialysis and transplant.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Heart Health - Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging for Heart Health - Keep your heart healthy with small changes to your diet and lifestyle. Learn more - start your free trial of the Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging online guide today for access to an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid and get 14 days free!

A month before the study findings were published, the NIH launched a major study to look at the health of people with chronic kidney disease, in an effort to understand why this condition worsens rapidly in some people and why some are more prone to heart disease than others. The six-year study will recruit 3,000 volunteers at seven medical centers throughout the United States.

In addition to low HDL and high LDL and triglycerides, risks of kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure or a history of kidney problems. Risks are higher than average among African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans. If you're at risk, ask your physician for a blood or urine test for kidney disease. If you have low HDL (less than 40 mg/dl) and high non-HDL cholesterol (your total cholesterol minus your HDL is higher than 196.1), you could be at increased risk for kidney disease, according to results of the Brigham and Women's study. You can raise HDL by increasing exercise, drinking alcohol moderately, and eating only healthy fats (monounsaturates such as olive oil and omega-3s from sources like salmon and sardines). Taking prescription statin drugs also will help, although I prefer natural alternatives such as red rice yeast.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here