Researchers find that aerobic exercise may reduce the risk of diabetes related kidney disease and may even improve kidney function in obesity.
Kidney, renal, disease is a common complication associated with type 2 diabetes, especially in those who do not exercise regularly and are obese. Early markers of diabetes-related kidney disease include high levels of protein in the urine and a reduced ability of the kidneys to filter out waste from the bloodstream. Chronic kidney disease can also lead to an imbalance of minerals in the body, particularly in the bones. Altered bone mineral content may contribute to disorders, such as the bone-weakening disease osteoporosis. A recent rat study finds better blood vessel health and lower urinary protein levels, which has the potential to improve kidney function in obesity.
Kidney function in obesity
To explore the effect of exercise on kidney disease risk factors, researchers studied two groups of rats, both composed of a combination of lean and obese animals. The ‘exercise’ group was exercised on a treadmill for 45-60 minutes each day, five days a week. The ‘inactive’ group was trained for 15 minutes twice a week to mimic a human sedentary lifestyle.
Reported in the American Journal of Physiology, the most significant finding was the improvement in blood vessel health and overall kidney function observed. All obese rats, regardless of group, had hardening or scarring of the renal arteries, increased protein in the urine, and fat deposits within the filtering structures of the kidneys.
However, the obese rats in the exercise group showed a decrease in these factors when compared to the inactive obese rats, suggesting positive progress in kidney function in obesity. The exercised obese rats also saw changes in bone composition, whereby there was higher levels of calcium and copper, but lower concentrations of iron when compared to the lean rats. However, such changes were not enough, to affect the risk of developing osteoporosis.