Dr Danielle Kirkman: Recent Findings on Exercise and Hypertension in Patients With Kidney Disease

Recent findings have shown that aerobic exercise improves microvascular function and coronary artery function in patients with kidney disease, but further research is needed on the relationship between exercise and kidney function, said Danielle Kirkman, PhD, assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.

What are some recent findings about the role of exercise in hypertension and kidney disease?
Some recent findings from our group at University of Delaware where I studied my postdoc, we recently found that aerobic exercise in nondialysis kidney disease patients significantly improved microvascular function and coronary artery function, so these are both implicated in the development of hypertension, so certainly this could be playing a role in lowering blood pressure. Previous studies before ours have shown that specifically in the non–kidney disease population, aerobic exercise reduces blood pressure by about 4 to 5 mm Hg. Certainly there’s a lot more research to be done in this field; I think we need some larger multicenter trials looking at the effects of exercise in lowering blood pressure.

With regards to kidney function, I think this is an area that’s still pretty underinvestigated, and it’s really a hot topic for those involved with exercise and chronic kidney disease. We are still trying to figure out whether exercise reduces the progression of kidney disease, whether it improves kidney function and improves perfusion to the kidney.
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