Kidney disease is a silent killer and can impact one's quality and longevity of life. It is important to take utmost care of your kidneys and stay healthy. In the article below, Dr Shruti Tapiawala, Nephrology and Renal Transplant, Global Hospitals, Parel, Mumbai , tells you how to protect and keep your kidneys healthy. Read on to know more about kidney diseases and follow the simple yet robust measures given by the expert to keep your kidneys healthy.
Causes of kidney disease
Kidneys are vital organs that are responsible to filter waste from the blood and make hormones which help keep haemoglobin levels normal and bones healthy. Kidneys regulate blood pressure and keep it under control. Further the kidneys keep electrolytes (sodium, potassium), minerals (calcium, phosphorus) and acid base balance.
Kidney diseases are of two kinds. One is acute kidney injury (AKI) and the second type ischronic kidney disease (CKD). AKI is a temporary kidney injury which can happen due to acute illnesses like infections, dehydration, blood loss, snake bites, diarrhoea, etc. This type of kidney failure recovers within 4-8 weeks after the cause of injury is taken care of.
Shockingly, CKD is a matter of concern in the country. A kidney disease of any kind which is more than three months of duration is termed as CKD. Every 1 person out of 4 has some kind of kidney injury. It is a kind of kidney disease which is progressive in nature and will not reverse once established. Diabetes mellitus and blood pressure are the leading causes of CKD all over the world and are a part of lifestyle related diseases. Obesity, excessive pain killer ( NSAIDs, COC 2 inhibitors) intake, alternative medications intake are the next common category of causes which can lead to CKD. Other causes are autoimmune disorders, chronic urinary tract infections, and kidney stones. In CKD there is a gradual loss of kidney function and due to kidney dysfunction, there is increase in toxins in the blood (urea and toxins removed by kidneys), high blood pressure, fluid retention causing swelling, low haemoglobin, increased risk of fractures. All this leads to higher chances of one getting strokes and heart attacks. Once a patient's kidney disease reaches stage 5 where the kidney function is less than 15 per cent, he or she requires renal replacement therapy in the form of lifelong dialysis or kidney transplantation.
Symptoms of kidney disease
The common symptoms of kidney disease are weakness, easy fatigability, frothy urine, swelling over feet and puffiness of face, high blood pressure, blood in urine, painful urination, frequent thirst, and constant urge to urinate. Those at risk ( diabetic, hypertensives, obese, those with family history of kidney diseases) should watch for these symptoms and seek guidance immediately so that further damage is prevented.
Tips to protect your kidneys
Here, Dr Shruti Tapiawala, shares some vital tips to protect your kidneys:
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Keep the blood sugar levels in check:
Target 3 months average sugar levels ( HBA1c)- 6-6.5, check sugars , serum creatinine and urine reports 3 monthly. Check BP monthly. Follow a diet and do regular exercises.
Check your salt intake: Processed foods and Foods loaded with salt can cause high blood pressure and hence damage the filters in the So eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Avoid processed foods.
Quit smoking: As smoking can lead to kidney injury, lung diseases and heart disease.
Exercise daily and maintain an optimum weight: Obesity or being overweight can damage the filters of the kidney. Regular exercises can help keep weight in normal range, blood pressure and sugars under control. Obesity can lead to high sugars and blood pressure and in turn cause kidney disease.
Eat a well-balanced diet: A colourful plate full of fresh fruits, vegetables, proteins, lipids and carbohydrates leads to a healthy body and mind. Avoid salt, sugar and maida in your diet as much as possible. Avoid processed foods. Get enough fluids and remain hydrated
Go for regular health check-ups: If you fall in the high risk categories as mentioned above for kidney disease, a 3-6 monthly basic check with your family doctor is needed. It should include, blood ( sugar, CBC and creatinine) and urine tests and blood pressure check
Avoid unnecessary medications and supplements: Unnecessary vitamins, health supplements and pain killers can damage the kidney. Do not take any over the counter pills without prescription from your doctor. Take supplements only if required as indicated by deficiency proven in blood tests.