As we’ve seen time and time again, sitting for too long can be bad for you (or maybe not!). To add to the ever-growing list of things that are affected by a sedentary lifestyle, a study presented at the American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week 2015 in San Diego, Calif., found that being sedentary can increase your risk of chronic kidney disease.

Researchers defined sedentary behavior as “engaging in activities in the seated or lying position that barely raise the energy expenditure above resting level” and differentiated sedentary behavior from physical inactivity — which they defined as “lack of moderate/vigorous physical activity” — to come up with their conclusions. To determine how sedentary behavior leads to an increased risk in chronic kidney disease, Dr. Dominique Ferranti and Dr. Srini Beddhu of the University of Utah School of Medicine measured the intensity and duration of physical activities in 5,873 adults.

The researchers discovered that for every 16 hours a person was awake, if they spent 80 minutes sedentary, there was a 20 percent increase in the likelihood of chronic kidney disease. They reported these findings were independent of factors like the duration of moderate/intense exercise, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, lung disease, or people with mobility limitations. The increase was even found when the researchers adjusted their findings for type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and obesity — diseases which people with sedentary lifestyles often have.

"Sedentary behavior, which is not mere lack of moderate/vigorous physical activity, is likely an independent risk factor for chronic kidney disease," Beddhu said in a press release. "It needs to be tested whether sedentary behavior affects the progression of chronic kidney disease, and thereby, increases the risk of end stage renal disease. Hence, interventions targeting sedentary behavior to slow the progression of chronic kidney disease need to be conducted."

According to the National Kidney Foundation, 26 million American adults have kidney disease and some don’t even know it, because kidney disease doesn’t really have any symptoms. In the later stages of the disease, urination will be dark or pink, foamy, and difficult. You may experience fatigue or weakness, and have an increased thirst. To prevent the onset of chronic kidney disease, you could try to eat a more Mediterranean diet, exercise, or at least walk as often as possible, and monitor your blood pressure, as hypertension is a major risk factor of the disease.

Source: Beddhu S. Ferranti D, et al. American Society pf Nephrology Kidney Week Presentation. 2015.