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Kidney Disease More Likely To Occur In People Who Carry Weight In Their Waist

Apr 12, 2013 10:32 AM EDT

Kidneys' ability to function may be directly related to where a person carries his or her weight, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Dr. Arjan Kwakernaak from the University Medical Center Gronigen located examined over 300 adults and found that, regardless of body mass index (BMI), those who carried their weight in their hips showed a decrease in kidney functioning when compared to those who carried their weight in other areas.

This included poorer filtration, lower kidney blood flow and higher kidney blood pressure, even after the study was adjusted for age, sex, mean arterial pressure and BMI.

What's more, these problems only got worse when observed in people who were overweight or obese, according to Kwakernaak.

As the study states, all of this suggests that those with central weight distribution are more likely to experience kidney disease during their lifetime.

There are currently an estimated 26 million Americans who live with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), which, if left untreated, can result in kidney failure.

A person, however, can live a near normal life with as little as 20 percent of normal kidney function, and many lose functioning without realizing it.

The kidney is an able multi-tasker, responsible for helping to create red blood cells, maintain bone health, control blood pressure and control chemicals and fluid in the body.

Symptoms, therefore, include fatigue, loss of appetite, dry and itchy skin, a need to urinate more often, muscle cramping at night and even swollen feet and ankles. Trouble concentrating and puffiness around the eyes are common as well.

Doctors test for kidney disease through blood pressure, a urinalysis and a test determine a person's glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which refers to the kidneys' ability to remove wastes.

When caught during early stages, treatment can be very effective; should a kidney fail, a person has to undergo either dialysis or transplantation.

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