Strength Training May Help Kidney Patients Live Longer, Healthier

Over 5 years, those with largest mid-arm muscles 37 percent less likely to die, study found

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FRIDAY, Oct. 15, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Strength training may help kidney disease patients live longer and healthier lives, a new study suggests.

This discovery comes from researchers at the Los Angeles Biomedical Institute, who studied the effect that lean and fat body mass had on the health and survival of 792 dialysis patients. Over five years, the researchers measured the participants' mid-arm muscle circumference (a measure of lean mass) and their triceps' skin fold (a measure of fat mass), and found that patients with the largest mid-arm muscles scored higher on a mental health test and lived longer than those with the smallest mid-arm muscles.

In fact, participants with the highest mid-arm muscle circumference were 37 percent less likely to die than those with the lowest circumference, reported Dr. Kamyar Kalantar-Zadeh, of the nonprofit research institute, which is located on the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center campus.

The link between triceps' skin-fold measurements and patients' health and survival wasn't as strong, he added.

The results suggest that dialysis patients may benefit from pumping iron or taking other steps to increase their lean body mass, the researchers noted.

More studies are needed but "it is possible that interventions that can improve muscle mass or increase lean body mass can lead to better clinical outcomes and greater survival in tens of thousands of dialysis patients and probably millions of individuals with other stages of chronic kidney disease or other chronic disease states," they concluded in a news release from the American Society of Nephrology.

The study appears in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

More information

The U.S. National Kidney Disease Education Program has more about kidney disease.

SOURCE: American Society of Nephrology, news release, Oct. 14, 2010

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