3 Effects of Kidney Disease on Weight

Obesity is one of the leading causes of kidney disease, but having the disease itself can be a factor in other kinds of weight problems. If you have kidney disease, the best thing for you to do is to focus not on your actual weight, but instead on adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle that can regulate your body and improve function of your kidneys. Not only is this one effective way to manage your health, but you’ll be better able to handle the different cycles of weight gain and loss caused by the disease, plus potentially prolong some of the inevitable side effects that may come in time.

1. Retention

One of the side effects of kidney disease is fluid retention, also called edema. A normal kidney naturally flushes out water, salt and other fluids from our bodies on a regular basis, but a malfunctioning kidney is much more slow at this process. The result is weight gain that results from retained water as the fluids are not properly excreted into the urine. Normally this weight gain and puffiness can be seen in certain areas of the body, such as the ankles, feet, legs, hands, belly and face. As stages of kidney disease advance, this water retention can lead to additional problems. To prevent this, you may wish to limit certain types of food and fluids to help put less of a burden on the kidneys.

2. Weight Fluctuation

Patients with kidney disease will often experience significant weight fluctuation. Many people experience unexplained weight loss during very early stages of kidney failure, but then find themselves eating an overabundance of certain foods in response to different cravings created by toxic buildup as the disease progresses. Because of the buildup of toxins in the body during kidney disease, the body experiences many rapid and ongoing changes as it attempts to readjust and remain healthy. As mentioned, water retention will make it seem that you’ve gained weight, but loss of appetite and lack of energy can lead to weight loss as well. These effects may happen in cycles, leading you to feel as though your weight has become uncontrollable.

3. Rapid Weight Loss

Rapid weight loss normally occurs during the end stages of kidney disease. For this reason, there are many different levels and processes that will need to be monitored carefully during this time. The toxins released, but not filtered by the body, are essentially whittling away at important storage facilities within the body, such as healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. Replacement of this storage is vital by increasing caloric intake, while limiting fluids, proteins, salts and electrolytes. Your weight will likely be difficult to maintain at this point and should become less of a focal point, next to the more important issues of staying healthy until proper treatment, such as dialysis or a kidney transplant, becomes available.


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