According to the results of a review of studies, weight loss could be an important step that kidney disease patients can take to preserve kidney function and protect their health.
Weight loss can improve a number of health problems. For example weight loss improves control of diabetes, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and reduces the effects of heart disease.
To determine if weight loss might also have beneficial effects on the kidneys, the researchers analyzed the studies that examined the effects of weight loss interventions in obese kidney disease patients. They searched the medical literature and identified data from thirteen relevant studies that assessed the impact of diet, exercise, and surgical procedures on kidney function.
The analysis revealed that weight loss attained through diet and exercise reduces proteinuria (excess excretion of protein in the urine, a hallmark of kidney damage) and could prevent additional decline in kidney function in obese patients with kidney disease. Studies also showed that surgical interventions normalize the filtration rate of the kidneys in obese patients with high filtration rates (a risk factor for the development of kidney disease).
Although the research indicates that weight loss could prevent the progression of kidney disease in obese kidney disease patients, the study authors noted that there were only a small number of studies available for analysis and additional high-quality long-term studies on this topic are needed.
1. Sankar Navaneethan, Weight Loss Interventions in Chronic Kidney Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology. doi 10.2215/CJN.02250409.