Physical activity may slow kidney function decline in patients with kidney disease

December 12, 2013

60 million people globally have chronic kidney disease.

Washington, DC (December 12, 2013) -- Increased physical activity may slow kidney function decline in patients with kidney disease, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (JASN). The findings suggest that exercise could have a powerful effect on maintaining patients' health.

Approximately 60 million people globally have chronic kidney disease (CKD). In the past 20 years, few new interventions have been shown to be useful in slowing the progression of the disease. Identifying modifiable risk factors for progression of CKD represents a critical next step toward reducing the morbidity, mortality, and health costs for one of the most expensive chronic health conditions.

Previous work by Cassianne Robinson-Cohen, PhD (Kidney Research Institute, University of Washington) and her colleagues demonstrated a link between physical inactivity and kidney function decline among older adults in the general population. The finding led them to question whether physical activity might help maintain CKD patients' kidney health. The team studied 256 participants of the Seattle Kidney Study, an ongoing study that is collecting information on patients with CKD, for an average of 3.7 years.

The researchers discovered that physical activity was inversely related to kidney function decline in a graded fashion and to a degree that was stronger than previously reported in the general population. Each 60-minute increment in weekly physical activity was linked with a 0.5% slower decline per year in kidney function.

"This study demonstrated that even small amounts of physical activity, such as walking 60 minutes per week, might slow the rate of kidney disease progression" said Dr. Robinson-Cohen "Physical inactivity is emerging as one of the few risk factors for kidney disease progression that is amenable to intervention."
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Highlights Study co-authors include Alyson Littman, PhD, Glen Duncan, PhD, Noel Weiss, MD, DrPH, Bryan Kestenbaum, MD, Ian de Boer, MD, Jonathan Himmelfarb, MD, John Kundzins, Denise Rock, John Ruzinski, T. Alp Ikizler, MD, and Michael Sachs, PhD.

Disclosures: The authors reported no financial disclosures.

The article, entitled "Physical Activity and Change in Estimated GFR Among Persons with CKD," will appear online at http://jasn.asnjournals.org/ on December 12, 2013, doi: 10.1681/ASN.2013040392.

The content of this article does not reflect the views or opinions of The American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s). ASN does not offer medical advice. All content in ASN publications is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This content should not be used during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any drug, changing your diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through ASN. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies.

Founded in 1966, and with more than 14,000 members, the American Society of Nephrology (ASN) leads the fight against kidney disease by educating health professionals, sharing new knowledge, advancing research, and advocating the highest quality care for patients.

American Society of Nephrology

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