Association of C-Reactive Protein and Microalbuminuria (from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, 1999 to 2004)
Chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease share many risk factors. Injury to the vascular endothelium, measured by elevated levels of serum C-reactive protein (CRP), may play a role in kidney and cardiovascular disease. We therefore examined the association of CRP with microalbuminuria, a marker of early kidney injury. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of a nationally representative, population-based survey. Weighted multiple logistic regression was used to study the association between CRP and microalbuminuria, adjusting for well-known risk factors. CRP was analyzed by a continuous variable and two categorized variables using quartiles and clinically recommended cutpoints. CRP concentration was positively associated with microalbuminuria. In the multivariate model, a one unit (in milligrams per liter) increase in CRP concentration was associated with a 2% increased odds of microalbuminuria (odds ratio 1.02, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.01 to 1.02, p=0.0003). When CRP concentrations were stratified by clinically recommended cutpoints, compared with persons with CRP concentrations<1 mg/dl, persons with CRP concentrations between 1 and 3 mg/L and >3 mg/L were 1.15 times (95% CI 0.94 to 1.42) and 1.33 times (95% CI 1.08 to 1.65) more likely to have microalbuminuria, respectively. In subgroup analyses, the strength of association was comparable or stronger. In conclusion, elevated CRP levels were associated with microalbuminuria in a large, nationally representative data set. Vascular inflammation, as measured by CRP, may be a common contributor to early heart and kidney disease.