With kidney disease one of the most devastating complications of type 2 diabetes – and a risk for about 35 percent of those with the disease – a new study suggests that losing weight can help significantly lower the risk of nephropathy in overweight or obese adults with type 2.
In fact, according to a study that appeared in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, those who lost weight through diet and exercise reduced their risk of developing chronic kidney disease by as much as 31 percent.
The study, a secondary analysis of the long-term Look AHEAD randomized clinical trial to examine the effects of intensive lifestyle intervention on those with type 2, included more than 5,000 overweight or obese Americans ages 45 to 76 with type 2 diabetes. Participants were divided into two groups, with half receiving diabetes support and education while the others were given a variety of tools with the goal of losing seven percent of their body weight through diet and exercise.
Researchers found that those who lost weight also lowered their risk of kidney disease.
“This result along with many others tends to reinforce the value of weight loss interventions and hopefully motivates people with diabetes to lose weight,” said Dr. William C. Knowler, chief of the Diabetes Epidemiology and Clinical Research Section of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Look AHEAD study was originally meant to assess how intensive lifestyle intervention impacted the incidence rate of cardiovascular death (including fatal myocardial infarction and stroke), non-fatal myocardial infarction, hospitalized angina and non-fatal stroke, but researchers found that intensive lifestyle interventions had little benefit on heart health.
Interventions did, however, not only lead to a lower risk of kidney disease – likely due to reduced body weight, lower blood pressure and reduced A1C levels – but also a lower risk of depression, knee pain, urinary incontinence and heart rate recovery after exercise.