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Obesity may up your risk of kidney failure

Research shows that being overweight can harm the kidney directly or indirectly, which is not a good sign says senior nephrologist Dr Pradeep Deshpande.

Obesity is one of the major causes for chronic kidney disease. The excess fat in our body can directly increase the risk of stone diseases, proteinuria, hyperfiltration injury and induces damage to the organ. With the rise in the number of Indians suffering from obesity, there has been a sharp increase in the number of patients with kidney-related diseases too. 

Most people above the age of 40 suffer from a metabolic syndrome where they are found to be low on stamina and at a risk to develop heart diseases and diabetes. This category of people are more likely to suffer from kidney diseases, explains Dr Pradeep Deshpande.

How does obesity contribute to the onset of kidney diseases? 
Obesity can harm the kidney directly as well as indirectly. Directly, by incidence of stones and by inducing damage when the waste is not processed properly. Indirectly, by contributing to hypertension, diabetes, hyper-cholesterolemia, insulin resistance and increased uric acid, which in turn, cause renal diseases.

What are the early symptoms that a person can identify with? 
Nocturia, that is passing of more urine in the night is the first symptom of a kidney disease. Frothy urine indicates increased loss of protein (due to surface tension), decreased urine and blood in the urine (hematuria), nausea and occasional vomiting are the earliest symptoms of chronic kidney disease. 

Does obesity hamper the treatment process? Or due to the extra fat in the body, does it affect the functioning of the organ? 
Yes. Extra body fat and body weight causes increased burden on the kidney function and an already compromised kidney function will get aggravated. It also hampers the treatment, as in diabetics where you need more insulin due to insulin resistance. 

What about the metabolism of the body? A lot of young and middle-aged adults in India are complaining of low stamina, lower metabolic rate and also inability to carry out tough physical jobs? 
Early aging and low stamina can be due to junk food, high salt intake, high calorie diet, high fat intake, lower metabolic activity and sedentary habits. All these contribute to the metabolic syndrome. Environmental toxins/factors such as air pollution, also may be contributing to lowered metabolic rates. However it is not documented and needs to be researched. 

With the increasing levels of obesity in India, is it expected that there will be more cases of chronic kidney disease than what is existing? Also, is it true that people may get kidney diseases at just 50 years, as compared to 60 years and above earlier? 
An increasing number of people may suffer from kidney diseases due to obesity in the next decade. For this reason, we must spread awareness so that people take the right steps and work towards being fit and healthy. For people who suffer from obesity there are strong chances that the disease will manifest early and this will require medical care and support system.

Quick Facts
Things to watch out for
A large waist size or having a lot of fat around the middle of the body.
A high level of fat called triglycerides in the blood.
A low level of HDL or good cholesterol
High blood pressure
High blood sugar even if you have not eaten food.

The best prevention is to have a healthy body weight. Check your Body Mass Index and also work towards reducing your risk of diabetes and high blood pressure which will in turn reduce the risk of developing kidney disease. Exercise and indulge in physical activity.

Foods that harm the kidney
The middle-aged must not indulge in protein-rich and low-carb diet.
Excess of salt
Artificial sweeteners
Carbonated 
beverages
Caffeine


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