Obesity Fuels Chronic Kidney Diseases

A health survey conducted by the Dubai Health Authority in collaboration with the Dubai Statistics Centre revealed that 11.9% of people in Dubai suffer from obesity.[i] The growing issue of obesity plays a key role in reducing people’s life expectancy and causes several severe health conditions. Obesity is a combination of factors including high calorie intake, lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle practices etc. Obesity is now a growing phenomenon across the globe and is one of the key factors responsible for a number of chronic diseases including kidney diseases.

Obesity causes mortality due to diabetes, stroke, conditions of the heart, certain cancers etc. However, a rarely discussed and rather unknown fact is the link between obesity and its consequences on the kidney. Obesity is directly linked to chronic kidney diseases (CKD) and its progression because obesity facilitates diabetes and hypertension which are the two common causes of kidney conditions. Body Mass Index (BMI) is the most used parameter to determine obesity, however, the waist circumference or waist to hip ratio is a better indicator of chronic health conditions. Obesity influences chronic kidney conditions in two ways; an obese individual is at a higher risk of diabetes and high BP which are causative factors of CKD. On the other hand, an obese individual’s kidneys will have to function much harder for the process of filtration in order to meet the demands of a person with higher BMI. An obese individual can also be at the risk of having kidney failure.

Obesity is reported to be one of the leading causes for chronic kidney conditions and end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The end stage of chronic kidney conditions is called ESRD when they kidneys are no longer able to function to its ability on a daily basis.

The most common kidney damaging conditions are;

Polycystic kidneys: is a condition where a person has multiple cysts in the kidneys causing it to enlarge. This condition is generally a birth defect.

Kidney stones: or Nephrolithiasis are hard mineral deposits made of acid salts that form inside the kidney or urinary tract. People who take medicines for gout are at a risk of kidney stones, dehydration is also a cause for the condition.

Proteinuria: a condition developed when there is abnormal protein in the urine. Albumin is a protein found in the human blood because the body needs it to fight infections, build muscle etc. The function of the human kidney is to filter the blood and remove things that aren’t required by the body. There will be an underlying cause for proteinuria which needs evaluation.

Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis: is a condition caused by scarring of the kidney. This condition may be caused due to primary or secondary reasons. The primary reason of scarring being no obvious cause, the secondary reason may be caused by another pre-existing condition, a prescribed drug, obesity or any other underlying condition.

Glomerulonephritis: is a condition causing inflammation of the Glomeruli (the kidney cell). This can lead to Hypertension, blood in the urine and proteinuria. In certain cases, this can progress to acute kidney failure.

It is extremely important to keep your kidney healthy for it to function to its full capability. Your blood sugar needs to be in control, failing which will cause diabetes. Keeping your body and mind fit by staying active helps in keeping the body fit and healthy. Water is key to prevent kidney conditions, drinking water flushes out the toxins from the kidneys and reduces the chance of kidney stones. Smoking is a causative factor for a number of health conditions, and it is always best to quit it. Certain over the counter medications may also cause kidney damage. This does not mean that they should not be taken at all, however, a physician must be consulted before self-medication. Routine medical checks are important to screen for chronic kidney conditions and for those who aren’t aware of the health risks they have. An obese individual must be aware of the positive impacts of losing weight which will include prevention and reduction of various chronic health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases and kidney conditions.

Every year, March 9th is celebrated as World Kidney Day with the aim of educating people about the importance of kidney health and the diseases associated with the kidney. This year World Kidney Day goes by the theme of ‘kidney disease and obesity’ because obesity is a potential risk factor for kidney diseases which is an unknown fact. Obesity and chronic kidney conditions are both preventable, upon undertaking healthy lifestyle practices. This kidney day lets us all promise ourselves to ensure adopting and advocating healthy lifestyle practices to beat the harmful health consequences of obesity and related kidney diseases.

Dr. John Cherian Varghese

Specialist Nephrologist 

Aster Clinic & Hospital 

Dr. John Cherian

[i] –  http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/health/survey-12-of-dubai-population-is-obese-1.1838295

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How About Some ‘Desk-ercise’?

What is the Cubicle Circuit concept and how would it benefit people? What does it do to the body?

People with desk jobs have an established itinerary of activities to perform on a daily basis. Most people have all day desk jobs where they begin and end their day at their desks, parked in front of a computer for 8/10 hours straight. A lot of times people completely disregard the havoc a simple desk job can cause to their body. Research has linked a number of health concerns with too much sitting. Low back pain, wrist pain, obesity, metabolic syndrome, shoulder aches, stiff neck etc. are a few of the health issues that may be caused.

Sitting in one position continuously can cause people to have a hinged back and increase the risk of death from cancer and cardiovascular diseases. A lot of systems in the body are affected by sitting for prolonged hours, predominantly the muscular-skeletal system. The posture maintained by the body for prolonged periods is directly related and contributes to health conditions like neck and back problems, muscle pain etc. The body needs some form of an exercise. Sitting continuously for prolonged periods can lead to obesity. Cardiac diseases are also on the rise because of a sedentary lifestyle.

Busy is Life is an initiative of Aster Clinics to trigger a thought in the minds of those people who are so busy in their day to day lives that they completely ignore their health. Cubicle circuit, in particular, is to help those with a desk job to take a break to break the chain of activities every 30 minutes – 1 hour. Instead of sitting, standing up to work for a few minutes, walking when talking over the phone, stretching a little at regular intervals, are all small steps towards breaking the circuit towards a healthier workplace environment. Movement can have profound impacts on your health. When one is sitting continuously, all health processes are stalled which is why the more you sit in a particular position for prolonged periods, the more serious are the health conditions.

Can the stretching suffice or do U have some tips on what people on desk jobs eat or binge on? As most of them feeling bored or hungry and want to snack on and off.

Standing up, stretching, walking and changing your posture at regular intervals in a day can help negate the harmful effects that sitting for a long duration can cause. Along with these activities, one must also sit on a comfortable chair, adjust the position of the chair and desktop/laptop screen in a way that slouching is avoided.

It is rather common that people snack on sandwiches, chocolates and cookies, coffee etc. excessively when doing a desk job because these are all convenient foods. They are easily accessible and the most convenient to pack and get along. This is another major change that needs to be made. The food that you eat at work should be healthy and full of lean protein. Drinking lots of water are extremely necessary to stay hydrated throughout the day. Salads and fruits must be a regular inclusion in the diet. Snack options should be yoghurt, a fruit or vegetable or even nuts like almonds and walnuts. There may be a number of times where you are required to eat out for a celebration at work, it is best to choose the healthiest option when it comes to restaurant or even the food. It surely isn’t possible to be completely away from food items like pizzas, biscuits, soft drinks etc. which is why an occasional indulgence is okay. This practice should be made not just at work but also in general to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Also people doing desk jobs tend to get very low and bored at times due to the monotony of work, do you think Cubicle Circuit can uplift their mood, interest in work and Happiness factor?

Sitting in one place and working throughout the day causes a mental block in your head after a certain point. Towards the end of the day, you will be tired, drained, fatigued and mentally drained. Research states that more than sitting at the desk throughout the day, it is your seating posture that affects the mood because different muscle groups are affected, hence leading to hormonal imbalance. Sitting for a very long time also makes a person more prone to depression because the mind has an effect on the body. Also, slouching while sitting induces feelings of fearfulness, dullness and sluggishness.

The head, neck and shoulder should always be aligned, the neck or spine shouldn’t ever curve because the brain considers it a signal that the body is tired making you feel fatigued. A spine stretch will help better your mood. Standing up at intervals helps relieve the stress in the back and neck, hence acting as a mood buster for the body.

Any examples you’d like to give to anyone who has seen a considerable change in work performance and health by following Cubicle Circuit?

Doctors always advise people to follow these steps to increase productivity at work and to improve their health. Walking and stretching at regular intervals can help us stay motivated and avoid being tired. These are little steps that everybody should incorporate in their life as they lead a long way in ensuring a healthy body and mind.

Your health and happiness related advice for people with desk jobs?

As it is very rightly said, ‘Health is Wealth’. Always ensure to take good care of your health, irrespective of whether at home or work. The human brain isn’t meant to work for extended periods, our focus shifts from time to time, however only a small break is required to get the focus back on track. Taking small breaks from a sitting position at work to standing up and moving around will not only help the body relax but also helps the brain to regain focus. Employees who take frequent but short breaks during work have much more stamina and suffer from fewer aches and pains. Avoid eating at the desk and continuously staring at the computer screen as it increases the strain caused to the eye. You may feel that a two minute break is not long enough but it is long enough to do your body a favour and give it the rest it needs. Unfortunately, this advice is not taken seriously and people do not realise the toll of stress and fatigue on an individual’s health and performance. Breaks are most effective when they are taken before they are actually needed. Taking a two minute break in between work to walk or stretch and eating healthy food instead of junk, are crucial steps that are essential to have a healthy mind and body.

 

Dr.Faisal Dalvi 

Internal Medicine Specialist 

Aster clinic, Muteena (DMPC) & Bur Dubai (AJMC) 

Dr faisal - DMPC

News Source – http://www.khaleejtimes.com/news/uae-health/how-about-some-desk-ercise

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