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Exercise Combined with Dialysis Yields Better Results

A recent study conducted by a team at Queeen's has suggested that patients who combine a low -intensity exercise regime when hooked up to dialysis// yield better results in clearing toxins and increasing overall physical stamina.

This five-month, exercise intervention study of dialysis patients was recently carried out by Rehabilitation Therapy professor Cheryl King-VanVlack, member of the Cardiac, Circulation and Respiratory (CCR) group at Queen's, and a group of researchers from Queen’s and Kingston General Hospital.

Results of the study, published in the most recent edition of the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, show that exercise during the process of dialysis increases by 20 per cent the removal of urea, one of the toxins collected in the body between dialysis sessions. This indicates that exercise during dialysis can enhance the treatment.

The study also suggests that physical function and stamina for the participants increases with the increased rate of toxin removal. During six-minute walk tests at weeks one, 10 and 20 of the study, the distance participants walked each time increased substantially.

“Enhanced dialysis efficacy over the long term may reduce the toxic effects of the ‘uremic’ syndrome, which refers to a myriad of complications associated with renal failure,” says Dr. King-VanVlack. “Patients undergoing hemodialysis may have fewer complications, enhanced physical function and better quality of life by regular participation in an intra-dialytic exercise program.”

Previously, most exercise programs for dialysis patients were instituted between sessions on non-dialysis days, and those programs that used exercise did not focus on dialysis efficacy -- the amount of toxins removed during a dialysis session.

Participants in this study exercised three times a week on stationary exercise bikes or mini-steppers placed in front of their dialysis chairs, for 30 minutes
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