Obesity Increases Your Risk for Chronic Kidney Disease

measuring tape wrapped around eaten apple

We all know that carrying around extra body fat isn’t good for us. But you may not realize that losing weight can help prevent kidney disease in otherwise-healthy people. Trimming down might also slow disease progression in people already diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, according to nephrologist Sankar Navaneethan, MD.

“Obesity and being overweight are risk factors for chronic kidney disease and are associated with the progression of the disease,” he says. “Metabolic syndrome is also a risk factor.”

People with metabolic syndrome are 20 to 30 percent more likely to develop kidney disease than people without it, Dr. Navaneethan says. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of factors that also increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes.

Features include:

  • A large waist size, or having a lot of fat around the middle of your body
  • A high level of a certain kind of fat – called triglycerides – in your blood
  • A low HDL or “good” cholesterol level
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood sugar, even if you haven’t eaten

It’s important to note that even if your medication does a good job controlling your blood sugar, blood pressure or cholesterol levels, you are still at an increased risk if you are obese or overweight. In people who already have chronic kidney disease, having metabolic syndrome increases the chances that their condition will progress to end-stage renal disease. People with end-stage renal disease must be treated with dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Reducing your risk

Start by getting to a healthy body weight. This can reduce your risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure, which in turn, will lower your risk for developing kidney disease.

But if you know you have kidney disease, it’s especially important not to start a weight loss program without talking to your doctor. Some popular diets that are high in protein can be harmful. They can even put your kidneys at risk.

High-protein, low-carb diets can harm the kidneys in two ways.

  • First, a diet too high in protein puts added strain on your kidneys.
  • Second, when your body is burning fat rather than glucose from carbohydrates, you run the risk of going into ketosis, a metabolic state that can cause kidney damage.

Be sure to talk to your doctor to develop a weight loss plan that meets your nutritional needs and protects your health.

  • Lisasc

    It would be great if you would discuss ABO incompatible kidney transplants. That is what my niece and I are doing. She’s O- and I’m A-. My niece has lupus and has been on the transplant list 15 months. We were told 3 weeks ago that she needs a transplant within 3 months or she’s dead.

    • Linda

      “…. she needs a transplant within 3 months or she’s dead”. My goodness, you have such a beautiful way with words! (NOT)

      • Brian Mitchell

        So do you. (NOT)

  • Jesus

    But my pee is purple?

  • http://akamar.deviantart.com Akamar

    I seem to have more issues at night.. I do tend to drink a lot more water at home, and often before bed. It’s getting difficult to get up and make it to the restroom without some leaking though

    • Samantha Honeycutt

      When you lay down it’s easier for fluid in your extremities to make it back to your kidneys to filter. This makes you produce more urine at night than during the day. You may try drinking more of your water in the morning or mid-day to reduce the the volume of new water in your system at bedtime, but the best thing to do is to set one or more alarms thru-out the night to just go ahead and get up and beat nature to it.

      • http://akamar.deviantart.com Akamar

        Ahhh, well that makes quite a bit of sense, given my job..

  • Jonathan

    I have strictures and they can be damned painful with puss, leakage and uti’s to boot. I have never had an STD in my life but was born with this particular defect. Cranberry extract supplements never really did the trick, however, dried cranberries are a winner every time. I get better flow, no pain and far less inflammation when I eat dried cranberries on the regular. Furthermore, the fiber in dried cranberries help keep my bowels moving.

    “Overall, clinical studies on the efficacy of cranberry juices and extracts for the prevention of UTIs are conflicting.”

    I submit that in my case, cranberries have been awesome at giving someone with my condition, a far healthier urinary tract. If the juice and supplements aren’t working, try the real thing.

  • Carl Broughton

    What about SEDIMENT? It is yellow; looks like sand.