How obesity and hypertension heighten risks of kidney cancer

Health & Fitness


If a person is suffering from obesity or hypertension, the risk of developing this fatal disease doubles

How obesity and hypertension heighten risks of kidney cancer

What makes kidneys vulnerable to cancer. Wikipedia Commons

Over the past few years, there has been a significant rise in problems related to kidney diseases. However, did you know that hypertension and obesity can increase the risk of kidney cancer? In India, the incidence of kidney cancer, particularly renal cell carcinoma (RCC), is significantly rising among adults. If a person is suffering from obesity or hypertension, the risk of developing this fatal disease doubles. Moreover, obesity itself is one of the risk factors for hypertension, which causes the arteries in the kidney to narrow down, which can affect the blood supply to the kidney.

How does hypertension affect the kidneys?

Hypertension is also linked to increasing the risk of kidney cancer, especially in men. As this condition causes narrowing of the arteries in the kidney, there is no proper blood supply, leading to kidney cancer. With time, uncontrolled blood pressure levels can weaken or harden the arteries, and the blood will not be filtered well. Hypertension is also linked to oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation, both of which are thought to play a role in kidney cancer pathogenesis.

How does obesity affect the kidneys?

Obesity may also raise the risk by increasing serum concentrations of free estrogens, which have been linked to an increased risk of renal cell cancer. Excess weight on the body not only puts extra pressure on the body but also increases the risk of kidney cancer. It forces the kidney to work harder in filtering the blood, which is higher than the normal level. With time, this pressure increases, and the kidneys are no longer able to keep up with the functioning, leading to kidney cancer. In India, over 77 per cent of people suffering from obesity are at high risk of kidney cancer. Obesity is linked with increased glomerular filtration rate along with increased renal plasma flow, which makes the kidneys more susceptible to damage and carcinogenesis.

Preventive measures

  • Manage a healthy BMI: As obesity is associated with the increased risk factors of kidney cancer, it is important to manage a healthy body mass index. One must add at least 40 minutes of physical exercise for at least 40 minutes. Also, if a person is already suffering from obesity, one can even get medical help and consultation to keep the weight under control.
  • Blood pressure monitoring: If a person is suffering from hypertension, it is important to keep an eye on it. One must monitor their blood pressure levels on a regular basis and never skip medications if they already have high blood pressure.
  • Eat healthy: Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and contain a variety of vitamins and minerals. They can also help you lower your cholesterol and manage blood sugar. Fibre-rich vegetables like beans and peas are also beneficial. Adding these as a part of the daily diet can surely reduce the risk of kidney cancer.
  • Healthy lifestyle: One must adopt a healthy lifestyle and quit all unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking as they increase the risk of kidney cancer. Apart from that, regular check-ups must also be done in order to detect any potential risk factors as soon as possible.

The author is a Consultant Urologist at Manipal Hospital, Ghaziabad. Views are personal.

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