Kidney Disease and Obesity

The compliment –‘You look so plump and chubby’ is one that should not be elating but be taken with a pinch of salt. This is as the World Health Organization has linked more deaths to obesity than it has linked to underweight as it estimates that 2.8m people die due to being overweight or obese. It also declared that obesity has reached its epidemic proportion with over 600 million persons being obese and 1.9 billion adults being overweight worldwide.

Obesity is not a state that is reached overnight but is an accumulation of excess or abnormal fat that may impair health. It is accumulated overtime and is a risk factor for a number of chronic diseases including diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular and kidney diseases.
The rate of developing end stage renal disease is 2 to 7 times more in obese people compared to those with normal weight. This is not just because obesity is a major risk factor for diseases that are risk factors for chronic kidneys disease but obesity has a direct impact on the kidneys. Due to an increased weight, the kidneys of an obese person work so hard to filter wastes from the blood (hyperfiltration) in order to meet the metabolic demands. This increase in kidney function can
damage the kidneys and cause chronic kidney disease in the long run.  

Acute kidney injury which occurs more frequently among obese persons is a kidney condition that develops suddenly and may last for a short time if the underlying cause is promptly dealt with. Untreated, acute kidney injury may lead to a more complicated case with life-long implications. The kidneys may gradually begin to lose their functions which will lead to chronic kidney disease and then, end renal stage disease.

It is therefore necessary to keep up with physical activities so that no room is left for the accumulation of excess fat. Keep moving for the kidneys – swim, walk, dance, skip, run – keep moving to keep the kidneys.
Other lifestyle choices that may affect the kidneys adversely include:
Ø  Untreated or incomplete treatment for infections.
Ø  Dehydration
Ø  Smoking
Ø  High sodium (salt) intake
Ø  Excessive use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Ø  Excessive alcohol consumption.

By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi

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