Kidney disease helped by weight loss

09/28/2009 - Articles

Kidney disease helped by weight loss

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Kidney disease is common and those affected by it may need dialysis to cleanse their blood or even a kidney transplant in the final stages of the disease.  Kidney disease is a known complication of diabetes.  Therefore, there is a suspicion that maybe some of the diabetes risk factors, like overweight, could also be implicated in kidney disease.  But, till now, it has not been clear what impact overweight and obesity have in kidney disease.

Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic, Ohio, looked at studies involving the impact of weight loss on obese patients with kidney disease.  They found 13 studies that looked at diet, exercise, and surgery and their impact on kidney function and kidney disease.  They found that weight loss through diet and exercise reduces excess protein in urine,  which is a hallmark of kidney damage.  This may prevent ongoing decline in kidney function and progression of kidney disease.  Also surgery was found to improve the filtration rate of urine through the kidneys which, in itself, can also slow the progression of kidney disease. 

The researchers noted that there were relatively few studies on this topic, despite its importance, and call for larger, high quality and long term investigations to be carried out into the link between weight and kidney disease.  More than one third of Americans are now obese or overweight. We already know that weight loss improves high blood pressure, cuts diabetes risk and lowers cholesterol levels.  Now, it seems, it can also slow down the progress of kidney disease.



Navaneethan S et al Weight loss interventions in chronic kidney disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology online September 17 2009; doi 10.2215/CJN.02250409   

Created on: 09/28/2009
Reviewed on: 09/28/2009

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