Kidney disease affects 4 million people in Spain

Chronic kidney disease is a national health problem, as 4 million people are affected and more than 500,000 need renal replacement therapy such as hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis or kidney transplantation.

As described by the expert nephrologist Dr. Fernández Perpén, member of Top Doctors, kidney disease is considered chronic when kidney damage persists for more than 3 months and its most frequent causes are Diabetes Mellitus type 2 and vascular diseases such as hypertension and arteriosclerosis. There are also other important causes, although less frequent, such as glomerular diseases and renal diseases secondary to infections.

Progression of chronic kidney disease

Today, Renal Disease Day in Spain, it is important to highlight the importance of taking into account this organ in our daily habits and medical check-ups, which is sometimes forgotten in comparison with other organs such as the heart, which we do check more regularly. Our expert nephrologist Dr. Fernandez points out the importance of getting an early diagnosis in kidney disease, and not letting it pass, because if it is detected in time it can slow down or even stop its progression: “An important characteristic of chronic renal failure is progression, regardless of the cause that has originated it. With early diagnosis and control of cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia or obesity, we are able to slow down and in some cases stop the progression to advanced renal failure”.

Benefits of exercise for kidney disease

In patients affected by kidney disease, renal replacement therapy often causes certain side effects, including muscle loss and extreme fatigue. Today, many specialists and health professionals are taking the opportunity to claim that physical activity is beneficial for these patients.

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An example of this is the Traïnsplant project, developed by Sonsoles Hernández Sánchez, to advise and accompany patients undergoing treatment for chronic kidney disease, transplant recipients and donors, in their physical recovery. As Ms. Hernández describes, a patient undergoing dialysis treatment is usually in a 60% worse physical condition than a sedentary person. Thus, patients end up developing osteoporosis problems and loss of endurance, strength, agility and general physical condition.

The Traïnsplant project website directly describes the benefits of exercise in patients with kidney disease: “Low-intensity, long-term aerobic endurance exercise tends to decrease inflammatory index markers and increase anabolism in patients undergoing pre-dialysis, hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis (…) increases oxygen consumption, thus improving the patient’s cardiorespiratory capacity”. In addition, they add that exercise also helps kidney disease patients with depression and anxiety, because they develop greater physical independence and well-being.