What causes CKDu?2017-10-10T15:47:05+00:00

What causes CKDu?

Walter Arsenio Rivera, 29, poses with his father, Antonio Arsenio Rivera, 58, in the cane fields of Chichigalpa, Nicaragua. Both men suffer from CKDu. (Photo: Ed Kashi)

Current theories contend that CKDu is multi-causal. Researchers hypothesize that heat stress and dehydration due to excessive workload cause repeated kidney injury.

Environmental exposures, naturally occurring or introduced toxins like fertilizers or pesticides, may be drivers as well.

Repeated kidney injuries lead to scarring and culminate in the progressive loss of kidney function.

Risk factors of CKDu

We are working to understand the following potential risk factors that over time may lead to CKDu.

  • Dehydration
  • Excessive workload and heat stress
  • Toxin exposures
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Infectious disease

The economic drivers and impacts of CKDu

After CKDu diagnosis it is almost impossible for workers to support their families because they are too sick to work. Most countries cannot afford to provide expensive life-extending dialysis treatment for all those who require it. Paying for private dialysis, or even transportation to public clinics, is out of reach.

CKDu-burdened societies are marked by inadequate nutrition and extreme poverty. As parents become too sick to work, young workers are forced to take low-paying jobs in fields with unsafe exposures to CKDu risk factors.

Understanding the drivers of the disease is essential so that we can adequately prevent this cycle.

Learn more about La Isla Network’s economic impact studies.

Questions still remain concerning the causal drivers of CKDu.

Establishing exact causality in epidemiology often takes decades. Chronic diseases in particular are frequently multi-causal, requiring more time to fully untangle. They are rarely understood completely.

In many ways, these are the early days of investigation.

Nevertheless, following the precautionary principle, La Isla Network advocates for proactive interventions in the workplace as well as government policies that must be instituted to protect at-risk populations.

Click here to join La Isla Network’s efforts to address CKDu or learn more about La Isla Network’s ongoing research and intervention projects.

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