Why we need to worry about our kidneys

Kidney problem is now recognized as a major medical problem worldwide. And yet, most of us don’t know what a ‘creatinine reading’ means. We sure know about our sugars and blood pressure, but when it comes to the deadly, irreversible kidney problem, we hardly know what its indicators are and what regular tests we need to keep kidney functioning in check.

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Much like diabetes and hypertension, kidney disease too is a silent killer. Its symptoms do not show till the kidney has been damaged up to 70 per cent. To understand why there is an alarming rise in the number of kidney disease cases, what is the prevention, and if there is a reversal possible for kidney damage.
Why is kidney disease on the rise?

As per exparts there are two aspects to understanding this rise in the number of kidney patients – a) the increase in awareness among people about kidney disease and b) lifestyle diseases like hypertension and diabetes. The incidence as such has risen, of course, but the statistics are more alarming also because of the increased awareness that we possess now. It is pinned that the causes of increase in incidence of chronic kidney disease to a high incidence of diabetes, high blood pressure, popping excessive pain killers, and consuming excessive OTC medications.

It is also added to the list factors like excessive salt intake and obesity. Kidney disease mostly happens as a by-product of a lifestyle disease and that’s why it is referred to as a secondary disease. As a primary disease, the kidney damage can manifest through diseases such as glomerulonephritis or poly-cystic kidney disease, but the incidence of primary kidney disorders remains low and they are also easily treatable.
What are the symptoms of kidney disease?

in case of kidney damage, symptoms only show when the kidney damage has exceeded 70 per cent. The symptoms, which only show in advanced stages of kidney damage, include leg swelling, appetite loss, itching, hypertension, frequent hiccups, easy fatigability, disturbance in periods and disturbance in sleep.

Can kidney damage be prevented?

For any disease, prevention is of three types – Primary prevention (preventing the occurrence of the disease), secondary prevention (preventing the worsening of the disease when it is in its initial stages) and tertiary prevention (preventing virulence of the disease when it is in advanced stages). For kidney disease the following preventions are advised :

Primary : Regular checkups for blood pressure and diabetes; regular Kidney Function Test, which is quite economical; avoiding OTC or unprescribed medication; saying no to tobacco; drinking adequate water

Secondary : Regular follow-up with kidney specialist; decreasing salt and protein intake; avoiding protein supplements; keeping your blood pressure and diabetes in control; consuming less water

Tertiary : There are only three options for people in advanced stages of kidney damage. They may be performed for people whose kidney function has dipped below 15 per cent.

Haemodialysis : This is the most commonly used way of disposing body waste through a dialysis machine. It should be typically done three times a week, a four hour session each time as per expart. Twelve hours a week of dialysis is almost equivalent to 45 per cent kidney function.

Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD): In this one, a permanent catheter is inserted inside the abdomen of the patient. The body uses peritoneum in the patient’s abdomen to purify the blood and remove excess toxins and fluid.
Transplantation : Kidney transplantation is the only solution that can revive a hundred per cent working of the kidney. But it is very expensive.

What is an ideal creatinine reading?
Creatinine is a fairly precise measure of knowing your kidney health. The normal range for creatinine in blood may be 0.84 to 1.21 milligrams per decilitre. A creatinine level of 5.0 or more indicates severe kidney impairment in adults.

People know about their systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings, they know about their blood sugar levels, they know their body-mass indexes but they don’t know their creatinine levels, a factor that is essential for keeping your kidney health in check. And unlike all other readings, there’s hardly much that we can do to better our kidney functioning once it is impaired.
You may click to see : How or Kidney works

Sources: The Times Of India

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