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Moderate exercise helps kidney disease patients

People with kidney disease can reduce their risk of developing heart disease and infections by walking on a regular basis, a study suggests.

UK researchers have found that moderate physical activity holds benefits by exerting anti-inflammatory effects and enhancing immunity.

In an acute exercise study involving 15 patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), they discovered that 30 minutes of walking improved the responsiveness of immune cells called neutrophils to a bacterial challenge in the post-exercise period.

“Exercise may reduce their high risk for heart disease”

Joao Viana

It also induced a systemic anti-inflammatory environment in the body, an association largely unexplored in kidney disease.

In a regular exercise study, meanwhile, six months of walking for 30 minutes a day, five times a week, reduced immune cell activation and markers of systemic inflammation in 20 patients compared with another 20 patients who did not increase their usual activity levels over the same period of time.

“Exercise exerts anti-inflammatory effects in patients with kidney disease and may in this way reduce their high risk for heart disease,” said Joao Viana, a research associate at Loughborough University.

“Our study also found no evidence that this level of exercise might be harmful to the immune system in people with kidney disease.”

The Leicester Kidney Exercise Team who carried out the study is a multidisciplinary research group based at Leicester General Hospital. The project involved members of University Hospitals of Leicester Trust, University of Leicester and Loughborough University.

All kidney patients involved are under the care of Leicester’s Hospitals John Walls Renal Unit.

The findings were published this month in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Writing in the journal, the study authors stated: “These findings provide compelling evidence that walking exercise is safe with regard to immune and inflammatory responses and has the potential to be an effective anti-inflammatory therapy in predialysis CKD.”

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