Home » Health » Marathon Running May Cause Short-Term Kidney Injury



Any marathoner will tell you that the grueling 26-mile races can do a number on the hips, knees, ankles and feet.

Now, a small study suggests that these tests of endurance are also tough on the kidneys.

“Marathon runners demonstrate transient or reverse short-term kidney injury,” said Dr. Chirag Parikh, professor of medicine at Yale University.

In his study of 22 participants in the 2015 Hartford, Conn. Marathon, Parikh found that 82 percent showed acute kidney injury after the race. In this condition, the kidneys fail to filter waste from the blood.

The good news is that the kidney injury seems to clear up within two days of the race, he said.

“On day 2, they are all fine,” Parikh said.

Runners likely don’t even know they’ve had this transient injury, Parikh said. “For the short term, I don’t think they would notice anything,” he said.

Parikh isn’t certain why the strenuous event is linked with kidney injury. But some potential causes include the sustained rise in core body temperature, dehydration, or the decreased blood flow to the kidneys that occurs during a marathon, he explained.

When the blood is pumped to the skin and muscles while running, he said, the kidneys may not get as much blood as they normally do.

Nor can Parikh say whether the effect might be cumulative, getting worse with more marathons run. It may be that the kidney adapts over time instead, he noted.

To evaluate this type of kidney injury, his team looked at blood and urine samples collected before and after the marathon. These tests included measuring blood creatinine levels and proteins in the urine, along with looking at kidney cells on a microscope. Creatinine is a waste product excreted by the kidneys; measuring it in the blood helps assess kidney health.

In a previous study, published in 2011, Dr. Peter McCullough, vice chief of medicine at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues evaluated 25 men and women marathoners. They found 40…



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