As per the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), approximately 42 million people across the United States are affected by constipation; in fact, annually, 2.5 million patients will book a doctor’s appointments to seek relief from it. While the condition is quite common, a new study is linking constipation to poor kidney health.
The research team evaluated 3.5 million veterans within the U.S., where the participants were examined in 2004, 2006, and then a follow up in 2013. All those involved in the study had normal kidney health at the start of the research; however, as time went by, some experienced constipation and kidney disease.
In fact, study results revealed that those who were dealing with constipation were 12% likelier to have chronic kidney disease (CKD), and 9% likelier to develop kidney failure. The team was also able to determine a proportional link within the level of constipation severity, CKD, and kidney failure, with enhanced levels of severe constipation linked to an increased chance of developing kidney disease.
The research team highlighted the connection between kidneys and intestinal health, indicating that the study adds some insight on the causes of poor kidney health, as well as prevention and treatment.
It was noted that additional research is needed to truly see if constipation is a causal factor when it comes to kidney disease. Should this be proven, dietary and lifestyle changes could help individuals alleviate the constipation symptoms and help decrease any chances of a person dealing with poor kidney health.
And these changes don’t have to be over the top. Some minor alterations within one’s diet to aid with constipation include:
Ensuring water intake (along with other fluids, i.e. clear soups and vegetable juices) is sufficient.
Reaching for items rich in fiber, as most who deal with constipation are simply not getting enough of this in their diet.
Increasing the number of probiotic foods (i.e. fermented foods and yogurt) you eat, daily.
Additionally, ensuring you get your body moving by adding some exercise into your daily routine will also help with constipation symptoms.
Interestingly enough, diet and exercise can not only help with constipation, but also when it comes slowing down the progression of CKD. Dietary choices that are low in salt and protein have been proven to help enhance a patient’s ailment when dealing with CKD.
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 20 million individuals, which equals out to about 10% of the population in the United States, had CKD in 2014. As CKD has no signs or symptoms early on in the disease, many may have the illness and simply not know it.
Lastly, in addition to constipation, diabetes and high blood pressure are also risk factors for the illness. Other risks for the disease include obesity, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease.