Aerobic exercise can help combat dialysis-related RLS

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Sleep Disorders | Sleep Review

Aerobic exercise can relieve several dialysis-related symptoms common in patients with kidney failure, according to an analysis of published clinical studies. The analysis is published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

People with kidney failure often have multiple, bothersome symptoms – such as fatigue, muscle cramps, and difficulty sleeping – that affect their ability to carry out everyday activities and enjoy life. Dialysis to treat kidney failure does not always relieve these symptoms and can sometimes make some symptoms worse. Importantly, dialysis patients have established that finding effective treatments for dialysis-related symptoms should be a research priority.

Exercise has recently been identified as a promising potential treatment for dialysis-related symptoms, but research is limited. To gain additional insight, a team led by Clara Bohm, MD, MPH (University of Manitoba, Canada) searched the medical literature and analyzed relevant studies examining the effects of aerobic exercise on dialysis-related symptoms. The search uncovered 15 randomized controlled trials, with various studies looking at restless legs syndrome (RLS), sleep disorders, symptoms of anxiety and depression, muscle cramps, and fatigue.

[RELATED: Sleep Apnea and the Dialysis Patient]

The team’s analysis of these studies suggested that aerobic exercise reduced several dialysis-related symptoms, including RLS, symptoms of depression, muscle cramps, and fatigue. “We found that just 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic exercise two to three times a week seemed to improve several common symptoms in people on hemodialysis, and make them feel better,” Bohm said in a press release. “Very few rigorous, well-designed studies have been published that delve deeper into the effects of exercise on symptoms in people on hemodialysis.”

Bohm added that there are many dialysis-related symptoms for which the effects of exercise have not been studied, and most of the people included in the published studies were men with relatively high levels of exercise capacity. “Future studies need to include people with different traits, especially more women, the elderly, and people with low functioning status, to see if exercise has similar effects,” she says. “In addition, it is not yet clear what training intensity and duration are required in order to see a benefit, and whether different types and locations of movement, e.g. B. during dialysis treatment or outside of dialysis, results in a different effect. “

An accompanying editorial adds that “It will also be critical to focus on developing the infrastructure to deliver effective training interventions.”

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