Study Finds Exercise Improves Overall Fitness of Older Kidney Patients

Exercise for older patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is not only safe, but can improve their overall physical fitness, investigators found and presented at the National Kidney Foundation’s 2019 Spring Clinical Meetings in Boston this week.

The investigators evaluated the impact of an exercise intervention in community-dwelling adults with later stages of CKD.

“Older adults with advanced chronic kidney disease have significantly impaired physical functions, but with a structured exercise program, they can achieve real improvements in physical performance,” said Dr. Stephen Seliger, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore and the Baltimore VA Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, and one of the authors of the report.

The team of researchers randomized CKD patients into 2 groups – one participating in a supervised exercise program 3 times per week and the control group provided health education classes. Measures of physical function were evaluated over a 12-month period.

“We designed this research to look at the effects of exercise on both physical fitness and mental fitness,” said Dr. Daniel Weiner, a nephrologist at Tufts Medical Center, and Tufts University, in Boston. “The research is most meaningful if we can get other medical professionals to promote exercise in people with advanced CKD in a way that is scalable and widely adaptable to community settings.”

The investigators include Seliger, Weiner, Andrew Well of Wayne State in Detroit, Roger Fielding of Tufts University, Leslie Katzel of the University of Maryland, and Shiyuan Miao of Tufts University. They presented their findings during a session at the NKF event. Thousands of nephrologists and kidney care professionals gather once a year to learn about the latest research and practices in kidney health.

“When people living with advanced CKD or nephrologists think about lifestyle modification, medical nutrition therapy is probably the top consideration,” added Joseph Vassalotti, MD, NKF Chief Medical Officer, who was not involved in the study. “This hypothesis generating study suggests supervised increases in physical activity is an additional important, potentially impactful therapy.”

NKF Spring Clinical Meetings

For the past 27 years, nephrology healthcare professionals from across the country have come to NKF’s Spring Clinical Meetings to learn about the newest developments related to all aspects of nephrology practice; network with colleagues; and present their research findings. The NKF Spring Clinical Meetings are designed for meaningful change in the multidisciplinary healthcare teams’ skills, performance, and patient health outcomes. It is the only conference of its kind that focuses on translating science into practice for the entire healthcare team. This year’s Spring Clinical Meetings will be held May 8-12 in Boston, MA.

NKF Professional Membership

Healthcare professionals can join NKF to receive access to tools and resources for both patients and professionals, discounts on professional education, and access to a network of thousands of individuals who treat patients with kidney disease.

Kidney Disease Facts

In the United States, 30 million adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease —and most aren’t aware of it. 1 in 3 American adults are at risk for chronic kidney disease. Risk factors for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and family history. People of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian or Pacific Islander descent are at increased risk for developing the disease. African Americans are 3 times more likely than Whites, and Hispanics are nearly 1.5 times more likely than non-Hispanics to develop end stage renal disease (kidney failure).

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org .

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