MONDAY, Feb. 28, 2022 (HealthDay News) — For individuals with type 2 diabetes, higher body mass index (BMI) appears to be causally associated with an increased risk for diabetic nephropathy (DN), according to a study published online Feb. 22 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

Jingru Lu, Ph.D., from Southeast University in Nanjing, China, and colleagues examined the causal effect of BMI on DN, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), and proteinuria in type 2 diabetes. Fifty-six genetic variants were selected as instrumental variables for BMI among 158,284 participants from BioBank Japan; their impact was examined on DN risk, eGFR, and proteinuria in a cohort of 3,972 individuals with type 2 diabetes.

The researchers observed a causal association for one standard deviation increase in BMI with higher DN risk and lower eGFR level (odds ratios, 3.76 and 0.71, respectively). No causal association was seen for BMI and proteinuria. The causal effect of BMI on DN was stronger in women than men in sex-stratified analyses (odds ratios, 14.81 and 3.48, respectively).

“Our research highlights how obesity contributes to the incidence and progression of diabetic nephropathy in people with type 2 diabetes, especially for women,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Managing your blood pressure and blood sugar may not be enough to slow the progression to end-stage renal disease, and our study shows how important it is for people with diabetes to also manage their weight.”

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