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    Could Semaglutide Decrease The Risk Of Kidney Disease? Exploring Findings From A 2024 Study

    In this article, we will look into the potential of semaglutide to reduce the risk of kidney disease, based on findings from a recent 2024 study. Semaglutide has become a popular medication for treating type 2 diabetes and obesity. In this new study, the medication is examined to see whether or not it has the potential to reduce the risk of someone experiencing kidney disease. We'll explore the findings of this study, consider how semaglutide could impact kidney function, and discuss the implications for individuals managing diabetes in this article.

    What is Semaglutide used for?

    Semaglutide is a medication that is primarily used to manage type 2 diabetes, but can also be used to promote weight loss. In the diabetes medication Ozempic, semaglutide regulates blood sugar levels, helping people with diabetes to maintain better glycaemic control. In the weight loss medication Wegovy, semaglutide helps people struggling with obesity or a weight-related health condition to lose weight by managing their appetite. 

    Which medications contain Semaglutide?

    A few different medications contain semaglutide as their active ingredient. These medications, although they contain the same active ingredient, are used to treat different conditions. The two most commonly used semaglutide medications are:

    • Wegovy - A self-injectable medication that is used to help people struggling with obesity or a weight-related health condition to lose weight. 

    • Ozempic - A self-injectable medication that is used to help people with diabetes regulate their blood sugar levels.

    A model of a kidney on a desk with a doctor assessing a patient in the background

    An overview of the study

    A 2024 study investigated the effects of semaglutide, a medication used for type 2 diabetes and weight loss, on kidney disease. The study involved participants with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease or high cardiovascular risk. They were given either semaglutide or a placebo once a week and were monitored for two years. The results showed that semaglutide significantly reduced the risk of serious kidney issues and helped improve kidney health, regardless of the participants' initial risk levels. Those on semaglutide were more likely to move to a lower-risk category for kidney disease and less likely to progress to a higher-risk category compared to those on the placebo (Tuttle et al, 2024).

    What did the study find?

    New research has found that semaglutide may help protect kidney function in people who have excess weight and cardiovascular disease. The findings suggest that weekly injections of semaglutide can help prevent complications such as chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease, which are often associated with obesity. These findings suggest that semaglutide may be an effective option for treating multiple health issues and improving overall quality of life. This study also highlights the benefits of semaglutide for individuals with obesity, even without diabetes.

    People taking semaglutide were found to have better kidney function

    In the study, researchers tracked significant kidney events such as declines in kidney function, the start of chronic kidney replacement therapy, the onset of persistent macroalbuminuria, or death. Results showed that people using semaglutide experienced fewer kidney-related events than those using a placebo. Those taking semaglutide had smaller declines in their glomerular filtration rates, which indicates better kidney filtering capability. They also saw significant decreases in the urinary albumin-to-creatinine ratio and macroalbuminuria, a condition where excessive protein is excreted in the urine.

    How does semaglutide protect kidney function?

    Semaglutide may protect kidney function in several ways. Firstly, by reducing weight, even by modest amounts, individuals in the semaglutide group experienced a decrease in the workload on their kidneys. This reduction in filtering load can potentially prolong lifespan. Additionally, improvements in glucose metabolism resulting from semaglutide treatment may benefit kidney health. The drug could also lower inflammation in the body, further contributing to kidney protection. It is important to note however that more research is needed to fully understand semaglutide's direct and indirect effects on kidney function.

    How could semaglutide be used to improve the health of your kidneys?

    Semaglutide could be utilised to enhance kidney health by addressing risk factors commonly associated with excess weight such as diabetes and hypertension. By targeting these risks, semaglutide may prevent the onset of kidney disease in individuals living with obesity. It may be challenging to encourage individuals without kidney dysfunction or diabetes to commit to a new medication like semaglutide; however, healthcare providers may be able to explain the benefits of using semaglutide for weight management as well as kidney disease.

    A person clutching their back due to back pain

    Should you consult your doctor for advice on using semaglutide?

    Yes, you should always consult your doctor for advice about using semaglutide or any medication. Your doctor can provide personalised guidance based on your health, medical history and specific needs. They can assess whether semaglutide is suitable for you, discuss potential risks and benefits, and help you make informed decisions about your treatment.

    Key Takeaways

    This new study has found that semaglutide could potentially protect kidney function in people who have excess weight or cardiovascular disease. Experts in healthcare have outlined that this could be a step toward semaglutide being used for treating different conditions that potentially help improve quality of life.

    Sources

    Effects of Once-Weekly Semaglutide on Kidney Disease Outcomes by KDIGO Risk Category in the SUSTAIN 6 Trial | ScienceDirect

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