India: The role of heavy metal toxicity in CKD progression

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Chronic exposure to low levels of heavy metals is widespread in industrialized countries. Kidneys are affected by heavy metal toxicity because of their ability to reabsorb and accumulate divalent metals.

Pradeep Shenoy, Assistant Professor of Nephrology at the K.S Hegde Medical Academy in Mangalore, believes this is a growing issue in India where there are currently no studies that assess the link between heavy metals, and their role in the progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD).

The majority of India’s population live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Consequently, they may be more vulnerable to develop CKD through an occupational exposure to the toxic heavy metals through drinking water, contaminated food and alternative medicine.

“High levels of mercury and lead are also present in Ayurvedic treatments, habitually used as an alternative form of medicine,” he adds.

Through World Kidney Fund, Dr. Shenoy can gain the support to gather crucial data to demonstrate how much heavy metals contribute to progression of CKD in India. The study results can help estimate more precisely the role of heavy in CKD progression and possibly limiting their exposure through medication.

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