The progressive pathway of microalbuminuria: from early marker of renal damage to strong cardiovascular risk predictor


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Abstract

There is clear evidence that urinary albumin excretion levels, even below the cut-off values currently used to diagnose microalbuminuria, are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular events. The relationships of microalbuminuria with a variety of risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes and metabolic syndrome and with several indices of subclinical organ damage, may contribute, at least in part, to explain the enhanced cardiovascular risk conferred by microalbuminuria. Nonetheless, several studies showed that the association between microalbuminuria and cardiovascular disease remains when all these risk factors are taken into account in multivariate analyses. Therefore, the exact pathophysiological mechanisms explaining the association between microalbuminuria and cardiovascular risk remain incompletely understood. The simple search for microalbuminuria in hypertensive patients may enable the clinician to better assess absolute cardiovascular risk, and its identification may induce physicians to encourage patients to make healthy lifestyle changes and perhaps would prompt to more aggressive modification of standard cardiovascular risk factors.

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