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Nephrolithiasis – A New Threat for Coronary Artery Diseases

Submitted by on September 10, 2013 – 11:08 PM

heartCoronary artery disease (CAD) aka myocardial infarction (MI) is probably the most common heart disease and a major cause of morbidity and mortality. It affects people from all socioeconomic classes and is a threat for both genders. However, majority of its risk factors carry a heavier disadvantage for males than females. Also females before menopause are partly immune to it due to the beneficial effect of estrogen.

But this effect has now been forfeited because scientists recently discovered that nephrolithiasis, another risk factor for coronary artery disease, is more detrimental for females and is of no significance for males. This new discovery is independent of dietary calcium intake. As a few risk factors of MI like Type A Personality patterns, smoking, gender etc indicate towards male gender, this new discovery has made an alarming point for females. A study published in Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) points out this piece of knowledge, proposing that in spite of its low chances, it is significant.

However, it failed to specify whether the association of kidney stones with coronary heart disease is sex specific or not. But a study conducted in Japan proved it, demonstrating that calcium oxalate stones are significantly associated with several CAD risk factors, including smoking habit, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and obesity. Nephrolithiasis (kidney stones) is an increasingly common condition occurring more frequently in men than women. Links between nephrolithiasis and other systemic diseases have been noted, including subclinical atherosclerosis, hypertension, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease.

Although as stated above, nephrolithiasis is more common in men, it increases the possibility of acquiring CAD in future in women more. The authors of such researches state that they are unable to explain this finding, and cannot yet comprehend if it is based on gender or any other differences between males and females. The authors for such research speculate that the link is an “unknown inherent metabolic state” for which kidney stones are an early marker and CAD a later effect, or perhaps they have risk factors in common that were not accounted for in the analysis. Nephrolithiasis and CAD are very common conditions worldwide but CAD carries higher mortality rate. There is an extremely considerable need to investigate this new discovery and to bring out remedies which can decrease this association.

About the Author: Sehrish Khan, student of fourth year MBBS at Dow Medical College, Pakistan. She is interested in the field of Cardiology and also a member of Pakistan Medical Students’ Research Society’s Executive Team. She had also been designated as Senior Director, Administration and Planning at Patients’ Welfare Association and writes for Dow Health Magazine as well. Sehrish can be reached at [email protected]

About this article: This article is competing for the JPMS International Medical Writing Contest 2013

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