By Dr. Gaurav Sahai, Nephrology
The exponential growth of diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes in the recent past has been attributed to the increasingly popular sedentary lifestyle. But not many people are aware of the fact that chronic kidney disease has now become a public health menace in India. According to a research study published in the year 2005, the prevalence of chronic kidney disease in Delhi is about 7852 people per million. What’s scarier is that the number is likely to increase in the near future due to several underlying factors.
What is Chronic Kidney Disease?
Chronic Kidney Disease refers to the condition where your kidney gradually stops functioning properly over time. As the condition worsens, wastes and fluids start to accumulate in your system instead of being filtered out.
People with a family history of kidney disorders are prone to this condition. If you’re diabetic (Type 1 or Type 2) or have hypertension, then you may be affected by chronic kidney disease since these are two of the most common risk factors for this condition. Kidney damage resulting from diabetes is known as diabetic nephropathy. Apart from these, other risk factors include- smoking, alcohol misuse, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, etc.
Look out for these symptoms!
- Chest pain
- Uncontrollable high blood pressure
- Unintentional weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting and nausea
- Fatigue and weakness
- Twitches and cramps
- Discoloration of skin
- Shortness of breath
- Urinating much less or more than usual
How can Chronic Kidney Disease be treated?
If all medications fail, or your kidneys deteriorate, then the only options left are – dialysis and a kidney transplant.
- Through Dialysis, the excess fluid and waste products are artificially removed from your bloodstream. There are two methods of doing this.
- In hemodialysis, a special filter (dialyzer) and a dialysis machine are used to filter the wastes and purify the blood. This needs to be done at least thrice a week.
- In peritoneal dialysis, a catheter is inserted into the abdominal cavity to fill it with a dialysis solution. The solution absorbs excess fluid and waste, and eventually drains out from your body.
- Kidney transplant refers to the surgical procedure of placing a healthy donor kidney in your body. After the surgery, you will have to remain under medications for the rest of your life.
How can you prevent Chronic Kidney Disease?
The key is to try and keep a check on your high blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
- Keep your blood sugar levels below 7% with HbA1c
- Ensure your blood pressure stays within the normal range140/90 mm Hg
- Avoid taking Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) as they adversely affect your kidney.
- Conduct frequent urine and blood tests to assess your kidney function, and to determine the amount of protein in the urine.
- Schedule regular follow-ups with a nephrologist
Chronic Kidney Disease is an emerging health crisis which takes a severe toll on people’s health. But it is certainly curable if you direct adequate attention to the underlying conditions.