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Does Obesity Lead to Kidney Disease?

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Obesity is one of the major problems faced by people worldwide, and it is set to increase by 40% by 2030. Obesity can also lead to other conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. Kidneys can also be affected through obesity apart from other organs. As a part of World Kidney Day on 12 th March, we understand the link between obesity and kidney diseases.

Kidney Stones: When urine has lower pH and increased minerals such as oxalate, sodium, uric acid and phosphate, it can lead to kidney stones. By controlling excess body weight, people can reduce the risk of kidney stones.

End Stage Kidney disease: Increased fat deposits caused by obesity is one of the major risk factors for chronic renal disease. The kidneys can become overworked as they filter higher quantities of blood and they need extra energy to function. This can lead to chronic kidney disease in the long term

Cancer and Infections: Due to the high levels of growth factors caused by obesity, the kidney is at the risk of cancer caused by stimulation of cancer cells which multiply quickly. As obesity also reduces the body’s immunity, the body is at the higher risk of acquiring infections.

It also to be noted that these complications occur to a fraction of obese people, which means that people with obesity might not develop a kidney disease. However, if people are suffering from conditions such as diabetes and hypertension are at risk of kidney failure, stones or kidney cancer.

Prevention and Cure: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and your body weight within normal range is an important factor apart from controlling diabetes and blood pressure. The doctor’s advice and medications should also be followed religiously to prevent any complications to the kidney.

We thank Dr. V Balaraman, Medical Director, NephroPlus Dialysis Center at Aysha Hospital, Chennai for his inputs.

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