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Chronic kidney disease, also called chronic kidney failure, describes the gradual loss of kidney function. Your kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from your blood, which are then excreted in your urine. When chronic kidney disease reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes can build up in your body.
In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, you may have few signs or symptoms. Chronic kidney disease may not become apparent until your kidney function is significantly impaired.
Treatment for chronic kidney disease focuses on slowing the progression of the kidney damage, usually by controlling the underlying cause. Chronic kidney disease can progress to end-stage kidney failure, which is fatal without artificial filtering (dialysis) or a kidney transplant.
The kidney has multiple functions, and one of it is to act like a filter and remove out waste substances. These filtered out substances are excreted through the urine.
Common kidney diseases including infections, kidney stones, diabetic effects, hypertensive effects, tumours, chronic kidney disease (effects of both hypertension and diabetes) and kidney failure.
Features of kidney diseases:
- Infections usually start with symptoms like burning with urination, change in colour of urine, and low abdominal pain.
- Kidney stones are usually identified by their characteristic pain in the sides of the back
- Smaller stones up to about 4 mm are passed through urine on their own.
- However, for larger stones, external shock waves are used to break them into smaller ones, which are then eliminated by the kidneys.
How Can I Prevent Kidney Disease?
The key to prevention or delay of severe kidney disease is early detection and aggressive intervention -- while there's still time to slow down the progression to kidney failure. Medical care with early intervention can change the course of chronic kidney disease and help prevent the need for dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Diabetes and high blood pressure account for two thirds of all cases of chronic kidney disease. By aggressively managing diabetes and high blood pressure with diet, exercise, and medications, you may be able to prevent kidney failure and help keep as much kidney function as possible.
- To prevent urinary tract infections, proper hygiene is very important.
- Thorough washing of the external urinary tract and use of clean underwear and toilet facilities is very important.
- Intravenous injections of pain relievers to help in pain control immediately on seeing the patient. If pain persists, an additional shot may also be required.
- Patients also have accompanying nausea and vomiting and may require antiemetics to control these.
- At the time of discharge, these medications can be continued at home.
- Hydration is very important, so drink at least 3 litres of water.
- Urine should be strained to ensure the stones have been passed
- Monitoring urine output including quantity and colour for any changes is also important. If urine is turbid, water intake should be increased.
- Avoid oxalate-rich foods. Most kidney stones are composed of calcium oxalate, and therefore foods rich in oxalate should be avoided. Beets, spinach, okra, tea, chocolate, soy, etc., should be minimised
- Reducing intake of salt and animal protein also helps in preventing recurrence. Legumes are a good option for proteins.
- Calcium supplements, if being taken, may need to be reduced or stopped. This can be managed by including enough calcium in the diet.
Chronic kidney disease: This is seen as a side effect of hypertension and diabetes.
- Constant monitoring of both BP and sugar levels is very essential.
- Keep cholesterol levels under check as suggested by your doctor
- Medicines should be taken as prescribed and not altered without medical supervision
- Quit smoking if the habit is still being continued
- Improve physical activity levels, which will also help control BP, sugar, and cholesterol levels
- Weight monitoring is essential to keep check, not just on kidneys but overall health.
- Kidney diseases put a person in a vicious cycle of health problems, so early detection and prevention are advised.
Here are some self-tips to prevent kidney diesease:
- Get Tested Regularly - At your next checkup, and at least within the next year if you haven't had these tests done:
- Ask for a urine test to see if you have excess protein, glucose, or blood in the urine.
- Ask for a blood pressure reading
- Ask for a fasting blood glucose test
- Ask for a creatinine test.
- Control Diabetes - If you have diabetes, work with your health care provider to keep your blood sugar levels under the best possible control. A program of diet, regular exercise, glucose monitoring, and medications to control blood sugars and protect kidney function can help.
- Control High Blood Pressure - If you have high blood pressure, work with your health care provider to get your blood pressure within target ranges. A program of diet, regular exercise, and medications can help.