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‘Obesity behind chronic kidney disease’

Ajita Singh | New Delhi |

Obesity is known to trigger chronic kidney disease in Indians, medical experts said on World Kidney Day, which was dedicated to the theme of obesity and chronic kidney disease. 

Disproportionately enlarged waist lines in individuals are likely to take huge toll on their kidney function. Worse still, women are impacted in more numbers than men as per data from a large pan-India study led by the George Institute for Global Health. India is only confirming the worst, it added. 

Preliminary data emerging in the Indian Chronic Kidney Disease (ICKD) study ~ a longitudinal study that is recruiting patients with kidney disease early on with the aim of following them up over a long period to identify the risk factors so that appropriate timely prevention measures can be applied ~ has shown alarmingly high levels of body mass index and waist circumference, thus highlighting the association between measures of obesity and development and progression of CKD.

The study funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, has been enrolling patients in nine hospitals across the country. A preliminary analysis of data of 1,500 patients with kidney disease recruited as part of the study shows the overall prevalence of obesity at 49 per cent, but the figure in women was a whopping 57 per cent. 

The data on abdominal obesity is even more alarming, with about 63 per cent of women and 48 per cent of men exhibiting waist circumference beyond the cut-offs accepted for the Asian population. 

“The data confirms the fact that there is high prevalence of obesity in patients with chronic kidney disease. Of particular concern is the high prevalence of abdominal obesity among women,” says Dr Vivekanand Jha, Executive Director of the George Institute for Global Health, India.

“Obese people are twice as likely to develop kidney disease compared to those with normal weight. Obesity also increases the likelihood of progression of kidney disease and development of complications, such as cardiovascular disease,” said Dr Jha, adding that there is no data on this relationship from India. 

According to Dr Rajesh Aggarwal, Senior Nephrologist at Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute, "Being obese can harm the kidney directly or indirectly. The excess fat in human body can directly increase the risk of stone diseases, proteinuria, hyperfiltration injury which make it unable for the kidney to hold the protein and induces damage to the organ.  So avoid the foods that make a person obese or harm the kidney which might include junk food, oily and spicy food, artificial sweeteners, excess of salt, caffeine, etc." 

Dr Ravi Bansal, Senior Nephrologist at PSRI Hospital said, “Obesity and being overweight are major risk factors for chronic kidney disease and is related to the disease progress. Moreover, obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes and hypertension as well, which together account for about 70% of all cases of end-stage renal disease. In India more than 2 lakh people die of kidney failure annually.” 

The good news is that obesity is largely preventable. “Education and awareness of the risk of obesity and a healthy lifestyle, including proper nutrition and exercise, can dramatically help in preventing obesity and kidney disease," concluded Dr Jha.