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Exercise Improves Physical And Mental Health Among Dialysis Patients

Update Date: Oct 03, 2014 09:09 AM EDT

Aerobic physical activity is strongly associated with better health-related quality of life, fewer depressive symptoms and prolonged life in kidney failure patients on dialysis, according to a new study. 

The study suggested that dialysis facilities have an opportunity to improve patients' health by providing exercise programs. 

Other major findings of the study, according to the press release were: 

After a median follow-up of 1.6 years, aerobic activity, but not strength/flexibility activity, was linked positively with health-related quality of life and inversely with depressive symptoms and premature death, with those who were very active being 40% less likely to die during follow-up than those who were never/rarely active.

Similar associations with aerobic activity were observed in subgroups defined by age, sex, time on dialysis, and diabetes status.

In dialysis patients with heart failure, aerobic activity was not linked with prolonged survival, but was associated positively with health-related quality of life and inversely with depressive symptoms.

"In addition, aerobic physical activity levels were found to be higher for patients treated in dialysis units offering an exercise program compared with units not offering an exercise program, pointing to the possibility to improve patient physical activity levels through greater availability of such programs for hemodialysis patients," said Antonio Alberto Lopes, MD, PhD (Federal University of Bahia, in Brazil), in the press release. "Our results call attention to opportunities for potentially improving the health of patients on hemodialysis through counseling for physical activity and the promotion of exercise programs in nephrology clinics."

The study was published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN).

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