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Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease Benefit Greatly from Exercise

Update Date: Nov 14, 2014 05:13 PM EST

Patients suffering from chronic kidney disease can benefit greatly from simple exercises, two studies reported.

In the first study, researchers headed by Sharlene Greenwood, MD from King's College Hospital in London recruited 20 patients with progressive chronic kidney disease at either stage three or four. 10 of the patients were randomly grouped into the rehabilitation program (REHAB) whereas the remaining 10 received standard care (UC). The REHAB group involved exercise training. Two patients from this group dropped out before the end of the study.

After 12 months, the researchers compared the patients' heart health. Many chronic kidney disease patients die from heart disease. The team found that patients in the REHAB group had a slower rate of decline in their kidney function. In addition, their cardio-respiratory fitness improved.

"Exercise-based rehabilitation has the potential to be a kidney-protective therapy for patients with progressive stages 3-4 CKD, and larger studies are planned," said Dr. Greenwood reported in the press release. "Exercise, besides protecting the kidneys, also will improve fitness, general health, and quality of life and has the potential to reduce cardiovascular risk, a major cause of mortality and morbidity in patients with CKD."

In the second study, researchers headed by Francesca Mallamaci, MD from the National Research Council Institute of Clinical Physiology, in Italy examined the effects of a low-intensity exercise program on patients with dialysis. Dialysis is needed for people whose kidneys can no longer function on their own. A total of 151 patients were instructed to follow the program and 146 patients acted as the control. The program was easy to use and could be done at home.

After six months, the researchers found that patients in the exercise group had improvements on their walking test, whereas patients from the control group did not.

"Personalized, low-intensity home exercise program improves physical performance in dialysis patients," the investigators concluded.

Both studies were presented at the ASN Kidney Week 2014

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