(HealthDay News) — Climate change may increase rates of chronic kidney disease worldwide as rising temperatures and heat stress damage kidneys, according to research published online May 5 in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Researchers analyzed global data and found that heat stress-related chronic kidney disease appears to be on the rise in rural communities in hot regions. The risk of heat stress-related chronic kidney disease has increased due to global warming and an increase in extreme heat waves, and is highest for certain groups of people, such as agricultural workers, according to the study authors.

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The authors also noted that decreasing amounts of rain contribute to the growing epidemic of heat stress nephropathy — or chronic kidney disease consistent with heat stress — by reducing water supplies and quality as temperatures rise.

“We were able to connect increased rates of chronic kidney disease in different areas to an underlying mechanism — heat stress and dehydration — and to climate,” study coauthor Richard Johnson, M.D., from the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, said in a journal news release. “A new type of kidney disease, occurring throughout the world in hot areas, is linked with temperature and climate, and may be one of the first epidemics due to global warming.”

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