PhotoAs we have previously reported numerous times, researchers increasingly link prolonged periods of sitting to all manner of health problems. Some have even called sitting “the new smoking.”

Another group of medical researchers has now expanded the scope of danger to include lying down as well as sitting. In short, two doctors at the University of Utah School of Medicine say being sedentary for too long during the day may be a risk factor for chronic kidney disease.

This finding is significant since sedentary behavior is a major part of modern life. Not just lounging in front of a TV set, but of the work environment as well. Most jobs now require long periods of sitting at a workstation and staring at a computer screen.

Important risk factor

At noted, sedentary behavior is an important risk factor for diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. The Utah researchers think it might also increase the danger of chronic kidney disease (CKD).

When someone has CKD, the kidneys lose their capacity to filter the blood and remove impurities. Eventually the kidneys fail, and the patient must undergo regular dialysis treatments to remain alive.

Researchers Dominique Ferranti, Srini Beddhu, and their colleagues examined this topic in 5873 adults in whom intensity and duration of physical activities were measured.

The researchers say for every 80 minutes a day increase in sedentary behavior they found a 20% increased likelihood of CKD. The link had nothing to do with moderate or vigorous physical activity duration, demographics, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, lung disease, and mobility limitations.

The link persisted even after adjusting for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.

Independent risk factor

“Sedentary behavior, which is not mere lack of moderate or vigorous physical activity, is likely an independent risk factor for chronic kidney disease,” said Beddhu. “It needs to be tested whether sedentary behavior affects the progression of chronic kidney disease, and thereby, increases the risk of end stage renal disease. Hence, interventions targeting sedentary behavior to slow the progression of chronic kidney disease need to be conducted.”

The National Kidney Foundation reports 26 million American adults have CKD and millions of others are at increased risk. It says early detection can help prevent the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure.

There is a strong link between high blood pressure and CKD. The Foundation says hypertension can cause CKD and CKD can cause hypertension.

Kidney health should be monitored during routine annual check-ups.

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