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Having larger muscles could compensate for poor muscle quality in Chronic Kidney Disease patients

The size of muscles in patients suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) could be more important to maintaining good physical performance than muscle quality, new research has shown.

In a paper published in the journal Nephrology Dialysis Transplantation, Leicester researchers have found that patients with large muscles had better physical function, walking ability, and strength – and that having large muscle size could in some instances ‘outweigh’ having poor muscle quality. In this regard, quality was determined by the amount of fat or fibrosis (excess connective tissue) within the muscle tissue.

The research suggests that it doesn’t necessarily matter how much fat or fibrosis is contained within a muscle – as, if the muscle is big enough, it could compensate for the lack of quality in regard to physical performance.

Dr Tom Wilkinson said: “In cases of kidney disease, poor muscle quality was correlated with poor physical performance. However, muscle size remains the largest predictor of physical function, even when muscle quality was taken into account.

“Therefore, in addition to the loss of muscle size, our study shows that muscle quality should be considered an important factor that may contribute to deficits in mobility and function in CKD. Interventions such as exercise, especially weight lifting type exercise as previously shown by our research, could improve both of these factors.”

 

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