According to the study, appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN), exercise has significant health benefits for individuals with kidney dysfunction.
Many patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) die prematurely, but not from effects directly related to kidney problems. Because physical activity has known health benefits, Srinivasan Beddhu, MD (Salt Lake City VA Healthcare System and University of Utah), and his colleagues researched the question of whether or not exercise can help prolong CKD patients' lives.
The study included 15,368 adult participants (5.9 percent of whom had CKD) in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III, a survey of the US population. After answering a questionnaire on the frequency and intensity of their leisure time physical activity, participants were divided into inactive, insufficiently active, and active groups.
On average, participants were followed for seven to nine years.
The researchers found that 28 percent of individuals with CKD were inactive, compared with 13.5 percent of non-CKD individuals. Active and insufficiently active CKD patients were 56 percent and 42 percent less likely to die during the study than inactive CKD patients, respectively. Similar survival benefits associated with physical activity were seen in individuals without CKD.
"These data suggest that increased physical activity might have a survival benefit in the CKD population. This is particularly important as most patients with stage III CKD die before they develop end stage renal disease," the authors wrote.