When To Suspect Kidney Disease And Why It Is Important To Visit A Specialist?

When To Suspect Kidney Disease And Why It Is Important To Visit A Specialist?

By Dr. Amit Agarwal, Pediatrics

The kidney is a vital organ of the body that helps in filtering the wastes out of the blood. In the case of a kidney ailment, the wastes build up in the blood (as the functioning of the kidney is affected). Unfortunately, many times, the chronic kidney problems cannot be detected at an early stage, triggering a plethora of health complications including death. Thus, it is essential to consult a nephrologist in case a person experiences any of the following complications and discomfort.

What are the common reasons to visit a Pediatric nephrologist? 
Some of the factors and health complications that make it necessary to visit a Pediatric nephrologist include

  1. Sudden loss of the kidney functions or acute kidney failure.
  2. CKD (Chronic kidney disease) that can potentially affect the kidney function for the long term.
  3. Presence of crystals, casts, protein, and blood in the urine that could be an indication of the improper functioning of the kidneys.
  4. Recurring Urinary Tract Infection of the kidney such as Pyelonephritis (kidney infection that often results in the scarring of the kidneys) and Cystitis (a condition characterized by the inflammation of the bladder).
  5. Stone formation in the kidney.
  6. Nephrotic Syndrome Kidney problems resulting from an elevated and uncontrolled blood pressure
  7. Cancer involving the kidney and the bladder.
  8. Hydronephrosis (commonly known as swelling of kidney)
  9. Kidney problems resulting from an elevated and uncontrolled blood pressure

Certain medical conditions that can have deleterious effect on the kidneys such as 

  1. Bedwetting (after the age of 5 years)
  2. Nephrotic Syndrome (Protein loss in urine with swelling) Glomerulonephritis (a medical condition characterized by the glomeruli getting inflamed).
  3. Nephritic syndrome (a condition characterized by an inflammation triggered by an immune response that interferes with the functioning of the glomerulus)

Other medical conditions that require a thorough investigation and treatment include Short Stature, Tubular necrosis, disorders of the renal blood vessels, problems related to dialysis, to name a few.

Symptoms of a Kidney Problem 
The symptoms associated with a chronic kidney disorder may appear gradually. However, some of the signs and symptoms that may be indicative of a kidney problem include

  1. Loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.
  2. Short height
  3. Not gaining weight Weakness, sleep problems.
  4. A sudden reduction in the frequency of urination.
  5. Persisting itching.
  6. Elevated and uncontrolled hypertension.
  7. Swelling of the ankles and the feet.
  8. Breathing troubles (in case the fluids build up in the lungs).
  9. Muscle cramps and twitches.

Why is it important to visit a Pediatric nephrologist? 
For starter, a Pediatric nephrologist would be able to diagnose the factors responsible for kidney malfunction with tests related to urine, blood, imaging, and tissue culturing. With timely diagnosis and treatment, many chronic and reversible kidney disorders can be controlled, managed, and treated with precision. Adult nephrologist may diagnose the problems in pediatric age group but they are usually unable to give importance to growth of children which is very unique and challenging in kids with kidney disease