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Weightlifting During Dialysis Combats Muscle Wasting: Study

High-intensity exercise was safe, improved patients' strength, quality of life

FRIDAY, April 13, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with end-stage renal disease, doing high-intensity weightlifting exercises during dialysis sessions helps counteract muscle wasting by building muscle mass and strength, an Australian study says.

The researchers concluded that exercise for patients should be standard practice at dialysis centers. The study is published in the May issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Muscle wasting is common in patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and a major risk factor for premature death.

"Our findings suggest that patients who regularly perform resistance training exercise during hemodialysis treatment can significantly improve muscle mass, strength, quality of life, and other aspects of health status that are important to people with kidney failure," lead author Bobby Cheema, of the University of Sydney, said in a prepared statement.

The study included 49 ESRD patients who were divided into two groups. One group received usual care, while the other group used equipment such as dumbbells and ankle weights to do high-intensity weightlifting exercises while seated in the dialysis chair during their three-times-weekly dialysis sessions.

After 12 weeks, the patients in the exercise group had improved muscle mass, muscle strength, improved quality of life, and a reduction in pro-inflammatory markers, which are associated with death from cardiovascular disease and other causes.

"Exercise was carried out safely within the hemodialysis sessions, without any interference with routine care, and no need to change dialysis procedures," Cheema said.

More information

The National Kidney Foundation has more about staying fit with kidney disease.

SOURCE: American Society of Nephrology, news release, April 4, 2007
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