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World Kidney Day 2021 - Living Well with Kidney Disease
2021-03-11

World Kidney Day 2021 - Living Well with Kidney Disease

Once you are diagnosed with CKD it puts a lot of uncertainty and despair on the patients and their caregivers. A reasonable knowledge about Kidney disease may help to allay many of these anxieties.

    Today is world kidney day. 2nd Thursday of March every year is chosen to celebrate this day. The theme for this year is living well with kidney disease. Once you are diagnosed with CKD it puts a lot of uncertainty and despair on the patients and their caregivers. A reasonable knowledge about Kidney disease may help to allay many of these anxieties.
    Chronic Kidney disease affects millions of Indians every year. CKD means that your kidneys are no longer functioning properly. Our kidneys play a vital role in removing toxins and wastes from blood, control of body fluid balance, regulation of blood pressure and also produce hormones like Vitamin D essential for bone health and erythropoietin which is needed for hemoglobin production. Each kidney is about the size of a fist. Most people have 2 kidneys but can very well survive with one healthy kidney.  
    High blood pressure and diabetes are the two leading cause of kidney diasese. Other conditions leading to CKD include polycystic kidneys, glomerulonephritis and stones. People with diabetes ,hypertension, heart disease, obesity and family history of smoking are at increased risk of developing CKD.
    Symptoms of CKD are often subtle and overlooked and as a result diagnosis can often be late. Symptoms like easy fatigabilty,nausea,vomiting,loss of appetite,shortness of breath,generalized itching,muscle cramps,decrease in urine output and swelling of hands face and feet may give clue to kidney disease.
    The best way to diagnose kidney disease is by testing.Kidney function can be assessed by simple blood test to measure urea and creatinine .Urine exam  is also done to look for abnormal leak of proteins or  blood cells.   An ultrasonography of abdomen also helps to know about size and architecture of the kidneys and look for any stones.
    A renal biopsy mayalso be needed in some cases if there unexplained excess leak of proteins or blood cells in urine or worsening kidney functions.
    Early stages of CKD can be managed conservatively. Patients are advised to control their diabetes and hypertension. They may given medications to correct anemia, phosphate binders to correct excess phosphate in blood, diuretics to remove excess fluid. Patients are advised to avoid painkiller and over the counter medications without doctors approval. Patients are advised to have a low protein diet and preferably restrict animal proteins and excess diary products. Patients with decreased urine volume and features of fluid retention(swelling of face and feet) may be advised to restrict their water intake to less than 1.5 lts daily. Patients are advised to avoid smoking. if you fall sick or develops an infection it should be promptly treated. With these measures you will be able to keep a check on the progression of your kidney disease.
    Now some patients may eventually progress to advanced renal failure despite medical management. These patients may require hemodialysis or renal transplantation. If a suitable donor is available renal transplantation offers the best survival and quality  of life.
    To summarize patients with kidney disease should not feel alone or depressed. If proper care is taken progression can be delayed and even in end stage renal disease there are treatment options to help you lead productive life.

Dr. Jithin S Kumar
Consultant, Nephrologhy