ADDING more fruit and vegetables to the diet of patients with kidney disease was found to improve blood pressure and reduce medicine expenses by almost half, when compared with those treated with a baking soda solution or those who did not receive any acid-reducing treatment. Speaking about the findings, the study’s author Dr Nimrit Goraya, Baylor Scott & White Health, Temple, Texas, USA, commented: “In the long run, adding three-to-four servings of fruit and vegetables to the diet reduces blood pressure and lets people take fewer blood pressure drugs, reducing their medical costs.”
To investigate the efficacy of this treatment, researchers compared blood pressure control in patients who were treated with baking soda to those treated with fruits and vegetables and patients who did not receive any acidosis treatment. At 5-year follow-up, the average systolic blood pressure was lower in the fruit and vegetable-eating patients (125 mm Hg) than either the baking soda (135 mm Hg) or no acidosis treatment (134 mm Hg) patients. Furthermore, although all groups began the study taking similar doses of common blood pressure drugs, by the end of the 5-year period daily doses were lowest for fruit and vegetable-eating patients. This meant that the average 5-year blood pressure drug cost for fruit and vegetable-eating patients ($79,760) was significantly lower than for baking soda ($155,372) or no acidosis treatment ($152,305) patients. Such a finding provides insight into the management of blood pressure in patients with kidney disease, because it offers a potentially superior and more affordable treatment option.
Researchers in Brazil have also been studying the benefits of different types of exercise on kidney disease patients undergoing dialysis, unrelated to the above study. Comparing data from 28 studies with 1,045 participants, the team found that combining aerobic exercise and resistance training was the most beneficial form of exercise for dialysis patients, because it not only increased aerobic fitness but also resulted in lower blood pressure. This was also the only form of exercise that reduced both average systolic (-5.88 mm Hg) and average diastolic (-3.93 mm Hg) blood pressure.