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Walking may prolong life and improve outcomes for patients with kidney diseases
World | science | 13:59, 16 May 2014 | 1035

AKIPRESS.COM - seniors-walking New research suggests that patients with the kidney disease can reduce the need for a kidney transplant or dialysis and prolong life simply by walking.

The research team from the China Medical University Hospital in Taiwan recently published their findings in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, the Medical News Today reported on May 16.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD), or chronic renal failure, is defined as a gradual loss of kidney function. As the disease becomes more severe, the kidneys can find it hard to remove waste and excess water from the body. A waste build-up can lead to other health problems, such as high blood pressure, anemia, nerve damage and poor nutritional health.

The final stage of kidney disease is known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD), or kidney failure. This is when the kidneys stop working completely. At this point, a patient would require dialysis - a form of treatment that replicates some functions of a working kidney - or a kidney transplant to maintain life.

Patients with CKD can often experience fatigue and lack of energy, which, in turn, can reduce their levels of physical activity. In this latest study, the researchers wanted to see whether a simple exercise - walking - could offer benefits to CKD patients.

The team analyzed 6,363 CKD patients of an average age of 70 years between June 2003 and May 2013. All patients were between stages 3 and 5 of the disease and were followed for an average of 1.3 years.

Walking was reported as the most common form of exercise among 21% of patients.

The researchers found that overall, patients who walked for exercise were 21% less likely to need dialysis or a kidney transplant and 33% less likely to die, compared with patients who did not engage in this physical activity.

The team also found that the more walking patients did, the less likely they were to die. Those who walked 1-2 times a week were 17% less likely to die than patients who did not walk, while those who walked, 3-4, 5-6 and 7 times or more a week were 28%, 58% and 59% less likely to die, respectively.

Patients who walked 1-2, 3-4, 5-6 and 7 times or more a week were also 19%, 27%, 43% and 44% less likely to need dialysis or a kidney transplant, respectively, compared with those who did not walk.

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