On average, people with chronic kidney disease (CKD) take nine prescription medications to control its causes and symptoms.
CKD patients are often put on drugs to control their high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, high potassium, high phosphate, high water retention, high inflammation, acid buildup, anemia, hyperparathyroidism, and infections. This results in people needing to take an awful lot of prescription drugs, all carrying their own side effects.
And a new study in the Journal of Renal Nutrition reveals just how harmful these drugs are for your CKD.
To find out how these drugs affect CKD, the researchers recruited 217 patients with CKD and analyzed their nutritional status as well as their prescribed medications.
They used medical records to record the number, dose, and type of medications that the patients were taking.
To assess nutritional status, they used measurements like height, weight, BMI, waist circumference, upper arm circumference, skinfold thickness triceps, and handgrip strength.
They found that 84% of the participants were on many prescription drugs, 37% were on excessive amounts of prescription drugs, 62% were either overweight or obese, and 1.4% were underweight.
So, what did they find on the relationship between drug-taking and malnutrition?
1. Patients with higher numbers of prescribed medicines were more likely to have low upper arm circumference, low skinfold thickness triceps, low handgrip strength, low red blood cells, and low blood albumin (the main protein in blood that transports nutrients around our bodies).
2. Patients who took medications with nausea as a side effect showed the same nutritional problems as those who took large numbers of drugs.
3. Patients who took medications with dry mouth as a side effect had lower handgrip strength, indicating muscle weakness.
Therefore, the use of multiple prescription drugs among people with CKD increases their risk of developing malnutrition.
This study again shows that drugs meant to remedy a condition often worsen it.
Of course, you shouldn’t stop taking your prescription drugs without first consulting your doctor. But if you take natural steps to manage or even reverse your CKD, your doctor may be able to cut down on your medications.