DNB (Nephrology), MD, MBBS
Kidney failure is happening even to 20-year-old Indians now! 4 Reasons why.
Usually more common in the elderly as a consequence of the chronic kidney disease, kidney failure is now increasingly becoming common amongst 20-somethings in the country.
Mainly because of their unhealthy lifestyle habits, they are falling prey to a disease that normally strikes later on in life.
Kidney failure, also known as renal failure, occurs when the kidneys stop functioning properly, that is, they are unable to filter out waste and toxins efficiently from the body. It is the most severe stage of chronic kidney disease. To ensure that toxins don't build up in the body, treatment usually involves dialysis (process for removing excess fluid and waste from the blood) or kidney transplant, among others. It is said that about 1 million people all over the world are on dialysis or are surviving on transplanted kidneys. The condition is permanent and can occur either very suddenly or slowly over time.
These frightening habits of the young are leading to the rise of the incidence of renal failure:
1. A sedentary lifestyle - A research conducted by the University of Utah School of Medicine suggests that if you spend 80 minutes a day sitting, you see a 20% increase in the risk of developing chronic kidney disease and, in turn, renal failure.Sedentary behaviour can also increase your risk of diabetes, hypertension as well as obesity (causes of chronic kidney disease).India is said to have about 60% of patients who suffer from hypertension and diabetes also suffer from kidney problem.
2. Poor eating habits - Studies suggest that the right diet consisting of fruits legumes, nuts, and whole grains can help in preventing kidney disease.On the other hand, a diet that is high in processed meats; salt and sugar can worsen the vicious cycle of high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and kidney disease. Furthermore, a BMI of over 30 can increase your risk of developing common kidney ailments by two-fold. With the proliferation of fast food outlets and junk food due to lack of time, Indians are increasingly now at a risk.
3. Smoking - Smoking brings about a decrease in blood flow to the kidneys, rendering the organs inefficient. When you smoke, the arteries of your body harden and the blood vessels become narrow, leading to a worsening of conditions like high blood pressure. A study by the John Hopkins University says that smoking can increase your chances of developing kidney disease by about 60%. Many young Indians view smoking as fashionable and some even take it up to 'look cool', to beat stress or just to blend in with their peers.
4. Drinking alcohol - Excessive alcohol consumption can bring about significant changes to the way your kidneys may function. Your kidneys end up becoming less efficient at removing alcohol from the blood due to regular drinking. Additionally, more than 2 drinks a day has been found to significantly increase your risk of high blood pressure, a common cause of kidney disease.