Kidney Hub

Kidney Disease and Weight Loss

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Being overweight or obese may increase the risk of developing a number of health issues, one of which is kidney disease.

Kidney Function

You probably know that a major function of the kidneys is to remove waste products from the body. The kidneys also deal with excess fluid. These waste products and excess fluid are removed through the urine. Healthy and correctly functioning kidneys keep a stable balance of chemicals within the body.

The critical regulation of the body’s salt, potassium and acid content is performed by the kidneys. The kidneys also produce hormones that affect the function of other organs. Other hormones produced by the kidneys help regulate blood pressure and control calcium metabolism.

The Effect of Obesity on Kidney Function

Obesity can have both a direct and indirect effect on kidney disease. The direct effect is that in obese patients the kidneys have to work harder, and filter above the normal level, to meet the metabolic demands of the increased body mass index of people who are obese. This additional workload is associated with a higher risk of developing Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) over the longer term.

The indirect risk is that obesity causes an increase in type 2 diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure), both of which are risk factors for CKD.

Studies show that people who are overweight are, at a minimum, twice as likely as people of a healthy weight to develop end-stage kidney disease (ESKD). Indeed some studies report this risk being, 7 times as high.

A 2016 study titles ‘The Impact of Bariatric Surgery on Estimated Glomerular Filtration rates in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes’ showed that weight loss results in significant improvements in kidney filtration rates (eGFR) in Type 2 Diabetes Patients, particularly in those with eGFR below 60, while routine care only was associated with a decline infiltration rates.

People who are obese are also at an increased risk of Acute Kidney Injury (AKI). This is a serious condition that develops suddenly. It can be successfully treated when the underlying cause is identified but it can also have long term implications leading to life long problems.

The Treatment of Kidney Disease

If you are overweight, losing as little as 5% of your body weight can help achieve an improvement in your health and will reduce the risk of you developing weight-related health problems.

For those people who are obese and are seeking a solution to help manage their weight and by extension their type 2 diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease, gastric bypass is generally regarded as the most surgical intervention. Patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery can expect to lose about 70% of their excess weight and to benefit from immediate health improvement from the metabolic benefits of the procedure. Similar benefits are achieved with the gastric sleeve, and to a lesser extent from the gastric band. The gastric band is safe and effective but is generally better for patients with a lower BMI who are not yet experiencing health problems as a result of their weight.

"I was a co-author on the study referred to earlier. For those who are obese and who have Kidney disease or type 2 Diabetes, weight loss surgery delivers improved quality of life and longer life expectancy.’ Mr Rishi Singhal, Bariatric Surgeon and Medical Director at Healthier Weight."

Mr Rishi Singhal

Next Steps

If you are concerned about the impact your weight is having on your health, either now or the impact it may have in the future, please call our team on 0800 033 4135 or make an enquiry below. We’ll be pleased to answer any questions and schedule a consultation with one of our surgeons.

Useful links:

Weight Loss Surgery 
Gastric Bypass 
Gastric Sleeve 
Gastric Band

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