Drinking More Water May Not Slow Chronic Kidney Disease, Research Suggests

Researchers at Western University and the Lawson Health Research Institute have found that increased water drinking does not slow the decline of kidney function in patients with chronic kidney disease, reports MedicalXpress.
Based on these findings, some of the researchers are suggesting that although increased water drinking does not help most patients with chronic kidney disease, it may be beneficial for those who drink lower than the recommended amount of water.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the gradual decline of kidney function. Kidneys usually filter waste products from the blood and discard them in the urine, but the kidneys of patients with CKD lose the ability to do this, which can cause the build-up of fluids and waste products, and, in some cases, kidney failure. CKD often does not show any symptoms, and so is frequently diagnosed at a late stage when kidney function has already significantly declined. Patients with stage three CKD are likely to experience mild symptoms, or even none at all, but by this point, kidney function has already declined between 40 to 70%. The treatment options for CKD are limited, and care is focused on slowing the progression of the disease rather than curing it. Patients may be offered medications, salt and water guidelines, and, for those with kidney failure, dialysis and/or a kidney transplant.

The recent study investigated water as a method of slowing kidney decline. Dr William Clark, a scientist from Lawson, says that there is currently limited scientific knowledge about how much water a person should drink. However, a higher water intake is thought to suppress an antidiuretic hormone to improve liver function. Based on this, researchers hypothesised that a high water intake may also benefit kidney function in people with CKD.
An initial pilot study was successful, and following this, researchers carried out a randomised clinical trial on 630 patients who had stage three CKD. The study followed two groups of patients for a year; one with high water intake and one who continued their usual level of intake. However, no differences in the rate of kidney decline were found between the two groups.
The next step, says Dr Clark, is to investigate whether a high water intake treatment could benefit a subgroup of CKD patients who usually drink below the recommended amounts of water. This could, following successful research, lead to personalised water drinking guidelines for patients.

Anna Hewitt

Anna Hewitt

Anna is from England and recently finished her undergraduate degree. She has an interest in medicine and enjoys writing. In her spare time she likes to cook, hike, and hang out with cats.

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