By Dr. Pooja Rakshit, General Physician
The kidney is the organ that helps to filter out the waste from the blood. It also helps in maintaining blood pressure. Kidney disease is the condition when the kidney fails to filter out the waste mixed with blood. These causes buildup of waste in the body. Kidney disease can be classified into:
- Acute Kidney Injury – Acute kidney disease is the damage to the kidneys. It may be short term, but in some patients, it may lead to kidney disease. The main causes are:
- Acute kidney injury can occur due to a drug, severe infection, or radioactive dye.
- Obstruction to the urine caused by kidney stones or enlarged kidney can also lead to acute kidney injury.
- Chronic Kidney Disease – Kidney function may worsen over the years and can lead to chronic kidney disease. Sometimes it can lead to end-stage kidney diseases, which requires dialysis or even transplants.
Some of the causes of chronic kidney disease are:
- Cyst in the kidneys.
- Acute Renal Injury: In gastroenteritis or even in case of high fever, severe dehydration results and the uncorrected dehydration can cause acute renal injury, Chronic renal injury.
- Overuse of medicines for pain like diclofenac, ibuprofen, etc damage kidneys.
- Some antibiotics also cause kidney damage.
- Certain ayurvedic medication may have heavy metals as contents which can cause severe damage to the kidney.
- Certain Chemicals through its vapors or ingestion in chemical factories can cause kidney damage, hence periodic kidney function tests are required in such cases.
- Damaged blood vessels of the kidney due to diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Attacks on the tissues of the kidney or the immune system.
- Congenital abnormalities of the urinary tract or of the kidney.
What are the symptoms of kidney disease?
The symptoms of kidney disease include:
- The person may feel nausea or vomiting.
- The passing of urine may become lesser.
- Persistent fatigue and shortness of breath.
- You may have a loss of appetite.
- Swelling around the ankles and puffiness of eyes are common symptoms of kidney disease.
- The individual has pale, dry and itchy skin.
- Muscle cramps, particularly in the legs may also be a symptom of kidney disease.
What can you do to prevent kidney disease?
The best thing to do to prevent kidney disease is early detection and treatment to slow down the progression to kidney failure. Diabetes and high blood pressure can put you at high risk of having kidney diseases. People suffering from these should be extra cautious regarding their kidney’s health. Some of the common prevention techniques are:
- If you have hypertension, you have to undergo regular checks and take preventative measures such as medications and a low salt diet to keep these in check. Blood pressure must be kept around than 130/80 at most times.
- If you are suffering from diabetes then always check your and blood sugar levels and also perform regular urine tests to ensure that the kidneys are functioning normally. Control of diabetes is very important to prevent yourself from kidney disease.
- Cholesterol levels should also be under control. Ensure a healthy diet and regular exercise so that the body can flush out or stop the buildup of bad cholesterol within the body.
- Smoking and alcohol should be avoided as these can add to hypertension as well as blood sugar. Smoking should be stopped completely while alcohol can be consumed in very limited quantities once in a while.