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

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

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

Greater physical fitness and Maintenance Body weight reduced the danger of chronic Kidney disease in adults with obesity, after 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 to reduce the risk of kidney disease in overweight adults,” 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 behind death within the United States. Hormonal changes related to extra body fat can increase body fluid levels, raise blood pressure, and promote insulin resistance. All of those force 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 at first of the study (which may cause kidney disease).

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

The researchers used participants' reports of their walking speed as a measure of their fitness and located that those that walked slower than 2 miles per hour had a 57 percent higher risk of kidney disease than faster walkers.

Once scar tissue has formed within the kidneys, the damage can't be reversed. But regular exercise will help the body survive this damage, the researchers suspected.

Harhay said the profit could also be related to the anti-inflammatory effects of standard exercise and/or higher heart and blood vessel health. “The mechanisms by which exercise and increased fitness protect the kidneys represent an important gap in our knowledge,” she said.

Beyond body weight

The study reflects a growing trend in obesity research to maneuver beyond specializing in body weight and to also examine other aspects that will explain the link between obesity and disease.

“For about two decades, there has been intensive research into which factor has a greater influence on our life expectancy and disease risk,” says Dr. Matthew Ahmadi, a postdoctoral fellow on the University of Sydney in Australia. “Is 'fitness' the main factor, 'obesity' 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 throughout 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 – whether it resulted in weight reduction or not – counteracted the danger of early death related to a high body mass index.

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

“A person with kidney disease should discuss their exercise goals with their doctor,” said Harhay, who desires to research how individuals with obesity and kidney disease can shed some pounds while maintaining muscle mass.