"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Fitness is more vital than weight reduction for the danger of kidney disease

October 2, 2023 – Here's a greater reason to exercise than simply losing a few pounds.

Greater physical fitness and Maintenance Body weight reduced the danger of chronic disease Kidney disease in adults with obesity, in accordance with a study published on Thursday in Obesity. But lose Body weight didn’t reduce this risk.

“We need to know more about the optimal strategies for reducing kidney disease risk in adults with obesity,” said study creator Meera Harhay, MD, medical director of clinical research at Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Obesity is a well-established risk factor for kidney disease, a number one reason for death within the United States. Hormonal changes related to extra body fat can increase body fluid volume, raise blood pressure, and promote insulin resistance. All of this forces your kidneys to work harder to filter your blood, leading to wreck and scarring.

“The kidneys can only compensate so much before permanent damage occurs,” says Harhay, an epidemiologist and kidney transplant expert.

In the study, Harhay and colleagues used data from the Multiethnic study on atherosclerosisa National Institutes of Health initiative that followed 6,814 middle-aged adults in six U.S. cities over a ten-year period, recording their weight and other health parameters. From this group, the researchers focused on 1,208 adults who met the medical definition of obesity but didn’t have kidney disease or diabetes firstly of the study (which could cause kidney disease).

They found that for each pound of weight gain in people, the danger of kidney disease increased by 34%. But losing a few pounds didn't reduce the danger. This suggests that stopping weight gain could also be more vital than weight reduction.

Using participants' self-reported walking speed as a measure of fitness, researchers found that those that walked slower than 2 miles per hour were 57% more prone to develop kidney disease than those that walked faster.

Once scar tissue has formed within the kidneys, the damage can’t be reversed. However, regular exercise could help the body survive this damage, the researchers suspected.

Harhay said the profit may very well be related to the anti-inflammatory effects of standard exercise and/or higher heart and blood vessel health. “The mechanisms by which exercise and higher fitness protect the kidneys represent a major gap in our knowledge,” she said.

Beyond body weight

The study reflects a growing trend in obesity research that just isn’t only specializing in body weight but in addition examining other things which may explain the link between obesity and disease.

“For about two decades, there has been extensive research into what is the stronger determinant of our longevity and risk of disease,” said Matthew Ahmadi, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher on the University of Sydney in Australia. “Is 'fitness' the main factor, 'fatness' or a balanced combination of both?”

In a Study 2022 Ahmadi was a co-author of the study. People who walked faster had a 36% lower risk of death through the study period (7 years) than those that walked slower. A 2021 study by researchers on the University of Arizona found that Start with a regular exercise program – no matter whether it led to weight reduction or not – counteracted the danger of early death related to a high body mass index.

It is significant to notice that cardio-stressful exercise could cause complications in patients with kidney damage. Kidney disease is related to muscle wasting (sarcopenia) and lack of muscle strength (dynapenia). Therefore, strength training may be a great option. Actually current research suggests that resistance training may improve walking speed in patients with sarcopenia higher than programs that also use other forms of training.

“A person with kidney disease should consult with their doctor about their exercise goals,” said Harhay, who wants to review how individuals with obesity and kidney disease can shed weight while maintaining muscle mass.