Kidney failure: Aerobic exercise may help reduce dialysis-related symptoms

Patients who develop end stage kidney failure and start losing about 85 to 90 percent of their kidney function may need Hemodialysis, or simply dialysis. It is a process of purifying the blood using a dialysis machine and an artificial kidney, or a dialyzer. This can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms including restless leg syndrome, depression, muscle cramping, and fatigue. According to a new study, 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise two to three times per week may help lessen such dialysis-related symptoms and make the patients feel better. The study was published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Also Read – Why there is an urgency for dialysis patients to get vaccinated?

For the study, Clara Bohm from the University of Manitoba in Canada and her team analysed the results of 15 randomized controlled trials investigating the effects of aerobic exercise on dialysis-related symptoms. However, most people included these studies were men with relatively high levels of physical function. So, Bohm stressed the need to include people with diverse characteristics, particularly more women, elderly individuals, and people with low functional status, in future studies to see if exercise has similar effects for them too. Also Read – Exercise during pregnancy can mitigate the risk of children developing diabetes

Causes of Kidney failure

Kidney failure, also called end-stage renal disease (ESRD), does not happen overnight. It develops little by little, over time, due to damage to your kidneys, which is caused by other health problems, in most cases. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of kidney failure. It can also result from autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and IgA nephropathy, genetic diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease, nephrotic syndrome and urinary tract problems. Also Read – 30% increase in weight-gain linked to severe kidney diseases; Here’s how to keep the organ healthy

Kidney failure may also occur due to a blood clot in or around your kidneys, kidney infection, heavy metal toxicity, excessive use of drugs and alcohol, vasculitis, an inflammation of blood vessels, etc.

Symptoms of kidney failure

Kidneys remove waste products and extra water from your blood and produce urine. If your kidneys can no longer function well on their own, you may start experiencing one or more of the following symptoms –

  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • Itchy skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • An upset stomach
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Poor appetite or metallic taste of food
  • Swelling in your feet and ankles
  • Too much urine (pee) or not enough urine
  • Trouble catching your breath
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Confusion or trouble concentrating

If you have one or more of these symptoms, see a doctor right away. To measure kidney function and diagnose kidney failure, your doctor may recommend blood tests (this can tell how well the kidneys are removing waste from the blood), advanced imaging (to check kidney abnormalities or obstructions), urine tests ( to measure the amount of urine as well as specific substances in the urine, such as protein or blood). Dialysis and kidney transplant are the main treatments for kidney failure.

With early diagnosis of kidney disease, worsening of kidney function can be slowed or averted with inexpensive interventions, said the World Health Organization. Managing the risk factors of kidney failure like cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension, drug therapy, avoiding tobacco usage, regular physical activity and reduction of salt intake may help.


(With inputs from news agencies)

Published : March 26, 2021 4:05 pm

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