Insomnia may have detrimental effects on individuals’ kidney health and their overall survival, according to a study presented at ASN Kidney Week 2017 in New Orleans.

Chronic insomnia is highly prevalent in the world, and the extent of its effects on the body are not fully known. A team led by Csaba Kovesdy, MD, and Jun Ling Lu, MD from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, looked to see whether chronic insomnia might be linked with increased risks of dying early and developing kidney problems in a group of 957,587 US veterans with normal kidney function. Of the patients, 41,928 (4.4%) had chronic insomnia

Over a median follow-up of 6.1 years, associations were examined in Cox proportional hazards models and logistic regressions. Adjustments were made for demographics and baseline estimated GFR, BMI and blood pressure, comorbidities, antihypertensive drugs, and social-economic status.

Twenty-three percent of patients died, 2.7% displayed rapid kidney function decline, and 0.2% developed kidney failure. Chronic insomnia was associated with a 1.4-times increased risk of dying, a 1.5-times increased risk of rapid loss of kidney function, and a 2.4-times increased risk of developing kidney failure.

“Chronic insomnia is an important and relatively common condition among patients with normal kidney function. Attention to its proper management could have long-ranging positive effects,” said Kovesdy. “This hypothesis will need to be examined in dedicated prospective studies, including clinical trials.”