Kidney disease patients are likely to live healthier and longer if they've beefed up their muscles, a new study has suggested.
The results have suggested that patients may benefit from pumping iron or taking medications to boost their lean body mass.
Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh of Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute and his colleagues examined the effects of lean and fat mass on 792 dialysis patients' health and survival by measuring patients' mid-arm muscle circumference (a measure of lean mass) and triceps skin fold (a measure of fat mass) over a 5-year period.
The researchers found that patients with a high mid-arm muscle circumference scored better on a mental health test and lived longer than patients with a low mid-arm muscle circumference.
Patients with the highest mid-arm muscle circumference were 37 percent less likely to die during the study period than patients with the lowest circumference.
Larger studies with detailed body composition analyses are needed to verify the investigators' findings, but "it is possible that interventions that can improve muscle mass or increase lean body mass can lead to better clinical outcomes and greater survival in tens of thousands of dialysis patients and probably millions of individuals with other stages of chronic kidney disease or other chronic disease states," said Kalantar-Zadeh.
The findings appeared in the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN)