About 10% of the world population suffers from some kind of chronic kidney disease.
In 2017, more than 1.2 million people were estimated to have died as a direct result of their kidney disease, and another 1.4 million people had heart complications caused by reduced kidney function.
In a recent study by Griffith University and Karolinska Institute, researchers found active lifestyle choices such as eating vegetables, exercising, and quitting smoking can reduce the risk of chronic kidney disease.
The study is published in The Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. One author is Dr. Jaimon Kelly.
In the study, the team did a systematic review of more than 100 published research papers to determine which lifestyle changes can lower the risk of kidney disease.
The review included more than 2.5 million healthy people from 16 countries.
Of particular interest to the researchers were the effects of diet, exercise, tobacco smoking, and alcohol on the risk of developing kidney problems.
The team found that lifestyle choices may a big role in the risk of getting kidney disease, and they think these can help clinical decision-making by doctors and healthy patients on lifestyle choices and preventing kidney damage.
The advice includes a more vegetable-rich diet, a higher potassium intake, more exercise, moderate alcohol consumption, less salt consumption, and quitting smoking.
Adherence to these recommendations may reduce the risk of chronic kidney disease by between 14% and 22%.
The team says in the absence of randomized intervention studies in the field, this study is the best evidence researchers have to date on what lifestyle choices can help for the primary prevention of kidney disease.
They stress that the advice applies to healthy people at risk of developing kidney problems and that people who are already suffering from kidney disease are to follow other lifestyle recommendations to avoid unnecessary strain on their kidneys.
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