Why Kidney Disease Patients Should Be Extra Careful with Nutrition

One in five overweight Americans is suffering from chronic kidney disease — a very significant number. A brand new piece of health news from the famous “Cleveland Clinic” has led to some valuable health advice: be careful when trying to shed pounds, because some things could damage your kidneys further.

Researchers analyzed the nutritional and lifestyle habits of overweight adults. They found that some diets and diet pills could worsen the kidney disease. These results stem from a national study of nearly 11,000 overweight adults. About half of them reported attempting to shed pounds in the previous year. The survey showed that, on average, obese Americans with kidney disease consume protein in amounts that are above the recommended levels for chronic kidney disease patients.

The typical American diet each day includes approximately 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Kidney patients should eat between 0.6 and 0.75 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. Some high-protein diets like the “Atkins” diet can call for nearly two grams. That is obviously far too high if you have kidney problems.

The researchers report a need to define how kidney patients can safely try to get control of their weight. Rather than fad diets or diet pills, overweight and obese people with kidney disease may adopt a plan that focuses on low protein, low calories, and regular exercise.

The survey asked patients whether they participated in regimens that included diet or exercise or both. It also found that eight percent of those seeking to shed pounds used medications as part of their weight loss regimen. This again could be problematic, as certain medications are not recommended in people with kidney disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 10% of adults aged 20 or older in the U.S. have chronic kidney disease. That is 20 million people suffering the progressive worsening of kidney function. It is often found in patients who have diabetes or hypertension, and can exist without symptoms until it progresses to severe levels. Kidney disease in end-stage usually requires treatment through dialysis or transplantation. Medicare costs in the U.S. for the care of patients with end-stage kidney disease has risen from $12.2 billion in 2000 to $20.8 billion in 2007.

If you are overweight and have any kidney damage, work closely with your doctor to develop a safe process for reducing body fat.

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