16-04-2021 / Kidney and Nephrology

Kidney Health and Basic Diseases - Causes and Treatment

Kidneys are responsible for multiple tasks like removing wastes, maintaining a mineral-water ratio, etc. Kidney disorder can affect the overall function of the whole body. Here you can learn briefly about the Kidney disorder and their treatment

Kidney Health and Basic Diseases - Causes and Treatment
Mazia AhmedMazia Ahmed

Mazia Ahmed

MSc Nutrition Science, Ph.D. Scholar

Table of Content

Introduction

  • The kidney is an essential organ in the human body. It handles multiple necessary tasks like removing wastes, preparing elements like renin or erythropoietin, and maintaining a mineral-water ratio for better blood regulation. Kidney disorders affect the healthy functioning of this system, which later causes adverse effects on a person's overall health. Thus, getting a quick diagnosis and taking appropriate kidney treatment strategies is essential. 

  • Indians, in particular, have to deal with poor sanitation, poverty, water contamination, unknown nephrotoxins in indigenous medications, and overcrowding. Such conditions increase the number of patients with kidney disorders in many areas, like parts of Andhra Pradesh, Goa, and Odisha. These areas specifically have multiple CKD cases with unknown etiology. 

What are kidney disorders?

  • Human beings have two kidneys, on two sides of the spine and above the waistline. A lot of fluid or waste build-up inside the body can cause damage to the kidneys. The factors that cause such issues generally fall under the characterization of kidney disorders or diseases. 

  • These disorders can stop the normal functioning of the internal system to clean waste or filter fluids from the blood. Also, they affect the blood pressure and disrupt the healthy metabolism of vitamin D and the production of red blood cells.

  • Commonly, kidney disorders would give the patients shortness of breath, poor sleep, weak energy, nausea, and swollen ankles. Overall, quick treatment of kidney disorders is vital for proper health improvement. This is because the ailment gets worse with time, which results in a complete shut-down of kidney functions. In the last stage, the consequences are life-threatening.

Infographics Kidney Disease in India

6 Types of kidney disorders

There are multiple types of kidney disorders visible in people of India and even other regions. Here are some common kidney disorders. 

1. Acute kidney disease 

  • This type of kidney disorder occurs when the kidneys stop functioning suddenly. Doctors term it acute renal failure or acute kidney injury. Commonly, this happens when the urine cannot leave the kidneys, toxic blood flow to the kidneys, or any direct trauma to the organ, such as a car accident. 

  • Furthermore, sepsis can make the patient go into a shock, and dehydration can result in excess protein accumulation in the bloodstream. Break down of the muscle is another cause of such protein accumulation. Moreover, women with pregnancy complications like preeclampsia or eclampsia can also suffer from acute kidney disease. Another lifestyle choice that can result in this condition is the overuse of particular drugs. 

2. Urinary Tract Infections 

UTIs or Urinary Tract Infections can transpire in any portion of the urinary system. These are bacterial infections commonly occurring in the urethra or bladder. In most cases, this condition is not hard to treat, and further health complications are rare. However, leaving a UTI untreated can cause the spread of these infections to the kidneys. That can later turn to kidney failure. 

3. Chronic kidney failure 

  • CKD is the most common type of kidney and mainly occurs due to a rise in blood pressure. This occurs over a long time, and improvement is prolonged. According to a Kidney Disease Data Center Study report from the International Society of Nephrology, 17% of India's population has CKD. Among the affected population, different areas show different prevalence rates (1%-13%). 

  • Increased blood pressure can put extra stress over the glomeruli in the kidneys. These are small blood vessels that are responsible for cleaning the blood. Here, the continuous pressure on the vessels can damage them, which reduces the functionality of the kidneys. 

  • Over time, the kidneys get highly damaged and fail to perform their original tasks. Usually, doctors prescribe dialysis treatments for patients at this stage. Also, in grave cases, transplantation is a viable option as well. 

  • One of the leading causes of CKD in patients is diabetes. It is foreseen that India would have the largest population of diabetic patients in the world by 2030. Essentially, diabetes results in the rise of sugar levels in the blood. This causes damage to the blood vessels over time, and eventually, the kidneys cannot clean the blood effectively. The accumulation of leftover toxins can cause kidney failure. 

Polycystic kidney disease

4. Glomerulonephritis

This is a type of minor inflammation that occurs in the glomeruli inside the kidneys. The common causes of this condition are drugs or infections. Plus, congenital abnormalities can also generate this disorder. Mostly, the condition resolves by itself. 

5. Kidney stones 

A lot of patients in India and worldwide suffer from kidney stones as well. This happens due to the crystallization of minerals and other elements inside the blood into stones. Mainly, this occurs inside the kidney or the urinary tract. During urination, the stones usually come out of the body, which can cause severe pain. However, in most cases, kidney stones are not inherently life-threatening. 

6. Polycystic kidney disease

  • A polycystic kidney disease is a form of genetic disorder that occurs in the kidneys. The condition results in the formation of tiny fluid sacs or cysts inside these organs. Later, these can cause trouble in the normal functioning of kidneys and result in kidney failure. 

  • Here, it is important to not confuse this with regular kidney cysts, which are not harmful. 

13 symptoms of Kidney Disorders

Particular signs are common for patients with kidney disorders. Usually, the kidney is a very adaptable organ, and it readjusts with the initial issues that occur. Thus, the early signs of kidney diseases are not very visible; meanwhile, the conditions get worse at a slow pace. Progressively, the signs grow more evident in the advanced stages. 

The common indications of kidney diseases are mentioned below: 

1.Vomiting and nausea 

2. Loss of hunger 

3. High blood pressure 

4. Weakness 

5. Extreme tiredness 

6. The mouth has a metallic taste 

7. Trouble in maintaining a good sleep cycle 

8. Distracted mind; problems in having clear thoughts or concentration 

9. Inflated ankles and feet 

10. Constant itching sensation 

11. Cramps and twitching muscles 

12. Difficulty in breathing (mainly occurs if the lungs have fluid build-up)

13. Pain in the chest (fluid build-up in the linings of the patients' heart)

2 Medical Treatments for Kidney Disorders

  • A lot of the types of kidney diseases can get better with proper medication. Most of the medications or treatment plans are necessary for reducing the symptoms, diminishing complications, and stopping the condition from getting worse. Also, particular treatment plans can improve kidney function to a somewhat normal condition. 

  • Doctors prescribe the treatment types based on the type of kidney disorder and the level of complication. The most effective treatments include:

1. Dialysis 

In this process, the excess fluid and waste materials in the blood are taken out artificially. It is effective in the advanced stages when the kidneys cannot manage the task on their own. However, it is important to remember that this treatment does not cure any kidney disease. In India, patients from the lower and middle socio-economical status showed about 68-93 % protein-energy wasting. 

Dialysis

The patients get two types of dialysis treatment. 

  • Hemodialysis- There is a machine that is fitted with the body of the patients. This machine removes extra fluids and waste particles. Essentially, the practice first began operating in Indian medical centers in 1962.

  • Peritoneal dialysis- Introduced in 1991 in India, this technique includes the insertion of a thin catheter inside the patient's abdomen. A solution enters the body through it, which absorbs the fluids and the water. Later, the solution leaves the patient's body naturally. 

2. Kidney transplant 

  • This treatment plan, which came to the Indian medical field in 1971, involves replacing a damaged kidney in a patient with a healthy donor kidney. Usually, the new kidney comes from either dead or living donors. After the operation, the patient needs to stay on particular medications for life. 

  • The disadvantage of RRT (Renal Replacement Therapy) in India, which includes these three treatments, is mainly the cost. Statistically, 90% of kidney patients cannot afford this; 60% of them stop because they cannot financially support the treatment for long. 

Overall, kidney disorders can damage the kidneys beyond repair or to a significant amount. Most of the signs do not appear early. So, patients need to avoid risk factors and lead a healthy lifestyle.

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