If you’re finding that you have less strength in your muscles, it could be that your kidneys are not functioning as well as they should be. Those are the conclusions derived by Dr. Michael Shlipak of the San Francisco VA Medical Center — he recently found a link between these two main areas of the body.
Your kidneys’ job is to process protein and to remove any toxic impurities. The remaining protein that your kidneys don’t process is used by your body to build muscle. In fact, during the end-stage of renal failure, muscles will often spasm and twitch, so there is a correlation in the way these two areas of the body operate.
When the kidneys are not functioning properly, levels of the protein “cystatin C,” which should’ve been filtered out, remains in high concentration in the kidneys and blood. The research team at the San Francisco Medical Center measured cystatin C levels in 3,043 elderly men and women, in accordance with their performance on several physical tests, and found that performance levels decreased as the level of cystatin C rose. The numbers from these tests reflected the lack of muscle strength and fitness level in the participants.
When kidney function is very low, often dialysis or kidney transplantation is required to solve the problem. In the U.S., more than 400,000 people are on long-term dialysis and more than 20,000 have functioning transplanted kidneys. When the kidneys become damaged or malfunction, waste products and excess fluid build up inside the body, causing a variety of symptoms, particularly the swelling of hands and feet, shortness of breath, and a frequent urge to urinate.
Chronic kidney disease is sometimes difficult to pinpoint, because it can result from other diseases or conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or atherosclerosis — all of which restrict blood flow to the kidneys. Any kind of urinary tract obstruction or problem can also contribute to a kidney infection. Chronic kidney disease can result from long-term exposure to toxic chemicals or to drugs, including the overuse of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These include “ibuprofen” and “naproxen.”
Acute kidney disease can occur within a matter of days if a severe medical incident happens, such as a heart attack or traumatic injury, which hampers the blood flow to the kidneys. An accidental poisoning due to certain toxins entering the body can also cause the kidneys to malfunction.
Referring back to muscle strength and performance, marathon runners and endurance athletes who are extremely healthy can also have their kidneys malfunction if they neglect to drink enough liquids prior to a long- distance race, and their muscles break down. When this occurs, a chemical called “myoglobin” is released and can cause damage to the kidneys as well.
If you’re in the early stages of kidney disease, or if you’re worried about your kidney health, control your blood glucose and blood pressure levels, follow a low-protein diet, maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in your blood, and quit smoking. The healthy elements in cranberries, saw palmetto, and parsley also aid the kidneys in doing their job.