Lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of chronic kidney disease

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Lifestyle choices can reduce the risk of chronic kidney disease

Active lifestyle choices such as eating vegetables, exercising and quitting smoking can reduce the risk of chronic kidney disease. According to a new study led by researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden and Griffith University in Australia, making healthy lifestyle choices such as quitting smoking, eating vegetables and exercising can reduce your risk of chronic kidney disease.

About 10 percent of the world population suffers from some kind of chronic kidney disease. In 2017, more than 1.2 million people were estimated to have died as a direct result of their kidney disease and another 1.4 million of the cardiovascular complications caused by reduced kidney function.

Unfortunately, there is no evidence on what lifestyle changes can actually help to prevent kidney disease from occurring until now.

A few simple choices can save your life

The recent study included more than 2.5 million healthy people from 16 countries.

Of particular interest were the effects of diet, exercise, tobacco smoking and alcohol on the risk of developing kidney problems. "We discovered that lifestyle plays a big role and identified a number of recommendations that can be conveyed to healthy people wanting to reduce their risk of developing chronic kidney disease," says Dr Jaimon Kelly, a postdoctoral research fellow at Griffith University.

The advice includes a more vegetable-rich diet, a higher potassium intake, more exercise, less alcohol consumption, less salt consumption and quitting smoking. This could reduce the risk of chronic kidney disease by between 14 and 22 percent.

"In the absence of randomised intervention studies in the field, this study is the best evidence we have to date on what lifestyle choices can help for primary prevention of kidney disease," says Juan Jesus Carrero, professor of epidemiology at the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet.

"The results can be used in the development of public health recommendations and in discussions with patients on how to lower their risk of kidney disease." The researchers stress that the advice applies to healthy people at risk of developing kidney problems, and that people who are already suffering from kidney disease are to follow other lifestyle recommendations to avoid unnecessary strain on their kidneys.

The study was financed by several parties, including the Swedish Research Council and the European Renal Association-European Dialysis and Transplantation Association.