Every organ has its own importance and its proper functioning is crucial for your well-being. The same goes with kidneys; a pair of two plays an important role in the human body and at the same time performs various multiple and complex functions.
Some of the functions are listed below:
- Keeps a balance of water and minerals in your blood
- Removes waste from your blood after digestion, muscle activity, and exposure to chemicals or medications
- Make renin, which your body uses to help manage your blood pressure
- Make a chemical called erythropoietin, which prompts your body to make red blood cells
When your kidney is damaged, all these functions do not take place properly which as a result adversely affects your body. Due to the collection of waste products and fluid, swelling in your ankle occurs. Other symptoms can be nausea, weakness, poor sleep, and shortness of breath. If not treated at the right time, the situation may get worse. Best nephrologists in Mumbai India often recommend immediate treatment to prevent further complications.
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What is Kidney Disease?
Kidneys are small organs that are in charge of filtering your blood, removing any toxins, and keeping your body healthy. So, if you have kidney disease, there is a chance that it will affect other parts of your body as well.
Kidney diseases can be caused by many things, such as diabetes or high cholesterol level. You can get kidney disease as a result of certain injuries or illnesses. These diseases can also be hereditary and an ongoing problem in different families. Different types of kidney diseases cause varying symptoms, with some causing pain and others affecting urination. There are several types of kidney diseases.
Symptoms of Kidney Diseases
If not detected early, kidney diseases can bring about serious side effects. You must be aware of the various symptoms of kidney disease in order for you to seek medical treatment early on.
Following is a list of early symptoms of kidney diseases:
- Poor appetite
- Muscle cramping
- Puffiness around the eyes
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Trouble sleeping
- Dry and scaly skin
- Frequent urination, especially during the night
And the symptoms that indicate that your kidney disease is progressing are:
- Fluid retention
- Change in the urine output
Types of kidney diseases and their causes
There are the following different types of kidney diseases and their causes.
1. Chronic kidney disease
CKD is the medical abbreviation of chronic kidney disease. It is one of the most common types of kidney disease. Being a long-term condition, it doesn’t improve over time, which is why needs to be treated in the best kidney transplant hospitals in mumbai as the region offers some good options. High blood pressure is the most common cause of CKD.
High blood pressure has an adverse effect on the kidneys because it can increase the pressure on the glomeruli which are the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys where blood is cleaned. Over time, the increased pressure damages these vessels, and kidney functions begin to decline.
This will eventually deteriorate kidney functions and will reach a point where the kidneys can no longer perform their job properly. In this case, a person would need to go on dialysis. Other than dialysis, a kidney transplant is another option to treat CKD depending on your circumstances.
Another major cause of chronic kidney disease is diabetes. This causes an increased level of sugar in the blood which damages the blood vessels in the kidneys over time. This makes the kidneys unable to clean the blood, thus leading to kidney failure as your body becomes overloaded with toxins.
2. Kidney stones
Kidney stones are another common kidney problem. They occur when minerals and other substances in the blood crystallize, forming solid masses called stones. They usually come out of the body during urination, but passing them can be extremely painful. They rarely cause significant problems.
3. Urinary tract infections
These are bacterial infections that are caused in any part of the urinary system. Generally, infections in the bladder and urethra are the most common. Their medical treatment is easy, so these do not lead to health problems. But if left untreated, these infections can spread to the kidneys and cause kidney failure.
4. Polycystic kidney disease
This can be defined as a genetic disorder that leads to the growth of numerous cysts in the kidneys. These cysts hinder kidney functions and thus end up causing kidney failure.
The inflammation caused in the glomeruli is called Glomerulonephritis. These are extremely small structures inside the kidneys that filter the blood. Infections, drugs, or congenital abnormalities are some major causes.
All the above kidney diseases are really serious and if not treated at the right time can worsen the condition. Best hospitals in Mumbai offer a specialized center for treatment which is managed by an expert team of doctors. Due to the sea change in technology, treating these kidney diseases has become much easier for doctors as well as for patients.
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Risk Factors for Developing Kidney Disease
Certain conditions and actions can increase your chances of developing kidney disease. These include:
- High blood pressure
- Family history
- Elderly age
Diagnosis of Kidney Diseases
Some tests are needed to diagnose kidney diseases. These include:
- Glomerular filtration rate (GFR): The GFR or Glomerular Filtration Rate is the measurement of how much fluid your kidney filters. In fact, the higher the GFR, the better the function of your kidneys. Therefore, testing the Glomerular filtration rate is necessary when assessing the condition of your kidneys.
- Ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) Scan: If you are diagnosed with kidney disease, you will be asked to undergo a scan that tests for any tumors. In fact, an Ultrasound or computed tomography scan produces detailed images of the kidneys and the urinary tract to detect tumors and other structural problems.
- Kidney biopsy: A biopsy is done to have a close look at the kidney cells. In fact, a biopsy is the removal of a small piece of tissue from your kidney for examination. This test will show if there are any abnormal cells in your kidneys.
- Urine test: A urine test is prescribed by doctors to check Albumin levels. Albumin is the protein found in your urine. The albumin test is also conducted as it will help diagnose any protein or blood loss in your urine. This test can be done when looking at potential causes of kidney diseases.
- Blood creatinine test: A blood creatinine test is performed in order to check your kidney function. This test measures the amount of creatinine that is present in the blood. Creatinine is a waste chemical and it is measured to observe whether or not you are at risk of developing kidney diseases.
What is the Treatment for Kidney Disease?
The treatment for kidney disease varies, depending on the exact cause of the problem. However, there are general treatments for kidney diseases. These treatments include:
Medication and drugs
Doctors usually prescribe ACE or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, like ramipril or lisinopril, and ARBs or angiotensin receptor blockers, like olmesartan or irbesartan. These medications help in preserving kidney functions, especially in high blood pressure patients. ACE inhibitors and ARBs, in fact, slow down the progression of kidney diseases.
Your doctor might also prescribe cholesterol drugs such as simvastatin. It will help you in controlling your cholesterol levels and maintain your kidney health.
You will also be prescribed medications to treat symptoms like swelling and anemia, along with those that help you in maintaining your electrolyte levels.
Lifestyle and diet changes
Lifestyle changes are of great importance in the prevention of kidney disease. The changes in your diet and lifestyle can slow down the progression of kidney diseases. This is especially true for diabetes patients.
Some lifestyle and dietary changes usually recommended by doctors to kidney patients include:
- Staying physically active
- Reducing salt intake
- Management of diabetes with insulin injections
- Eating a healthy diet, including a lot of fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat dairy
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Limit the intake of high-cholesterol foods
Dialysis is another treatment for kidney diseases. It is an artificial method that helps in cleaning your blood and removing wastes from it, especially in cases where the kidneys are not functioning properly. This treatment is prescribed for patients in the final stage of kidney disease.
During dialysis, your blood is pumped through a special machine called dialyzer. This machine removes wastes and excess fluid from your body and replaces them with artificial fluids. However, the success rate of this treatment depends upon various factors like age, overall health, and lifestyle habits.
The following are two types of dialysis:
In hemodialysis, your blood passes through a machine called dialyzer. The wastes and excess fluid are removed from the blood in your body and replaced with artificial fluids. This treatment is done on regular basis and it can be carried out in a dialysis center outside the hospital or at your home.
Unlike hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis doesn't require any machine. Instead of using a machine, peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of your abdomen for filtering the blood. This type of dialysis has fewer restrictions than hemodialysis. However, it might not be an ideal option for all kidney patients.
What is the Long-Term Outlook for Kidney Disease Patients?
If you suffer from kidney disease, you should know that with proper lifestyle changes, medications, and diet control, your health condition can be managed successfully.
If you are a patient suffering from chronic kidney diseases, know that you have options for the long-term treatment of these diseases. Your doctor can provide you with information about the various treatments available. You can also speak to other kidney patients about their experiences and living conditions so that you are well-prepared for your medical journey ahead.
Chronic kidney disease patients might have varying conditions. Some people require dialysis while others just need treatment to control their symptoms.
What are Different Ways to Prevent Kidney Disease?
The first and most important step to take when trying to prevent kidney disease is to have a proper diet and healthy lifestyle. Below are some tips that you can follow in order to prevent kidney diseases from developing:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly and stay physically active
- Eat a healthy diet rich in vegetables and fruits
- Maintain a healthy level of sodium intake
- Avoid saturated and trans fat
Kidney diseases are very common. Some kidney conditions can be prevented and others treated. There are different types of kidney diseases. So, it is important to visit your doctor immediately if you experience any symptoms of kidney disease. Your doctor will study the information provided and determine if a specific disease is at fault. The earlier you are diagnosed, the easier it will be for your doctors to treat your kidney illness.
Dr. Jatin Kothari (Director Nephrology & Chief Consultant)
Dr. Jatin Kothari, Director Nephrology & Chief Consultant, Renal Transplant Medicine, Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital is one of India's foremost nephrologists with experience spanning over 25 years. He is considered an authority on Dialysis and living, deceased, swap or domino transplantation.