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

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 (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 decline among older adults in the . The finding led them to question whether 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."

More information: The article, entitled "Physical Activity and Change in Estimated GFR Among Persons with CKD," will appear online on December 12, 2013, DOI: 10.1681/ASN.2013040392

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