Kidney infection or damage can lead to kidney failure, and in some cases, it may even cause death. In fact, 850 million people worldwide are suffering chronically due to kidney disease and it kills 2.4 million people worldwide every year. Right now, one in 10 people worldwide and one in 7 people in Bangladesh are kidney patients.
In order to promote good kidney health, World Kidney Day is observed on the 10th of March every year.
This year, the theme for World Kidney Day is 'Bridge the Knowledge Gap For Better Kidney Care'. The aim is to reduce the number of cases of kidney disease each year by increasing awareness among the general people.
Why kidney health is vital for your overall well-being
Each kidney has 1 million nephrons, which are like tiny filtering units that separate useful substances and contaminants from blood. Later, the contaminants are passed out of the body via urine. Additionally, the kidneys play an important role in controlling blood pressure, helping hormone production, helping in the formation of blood cells, and keeping bones healthy. If the kidneys are not in a healthy state, these functions will be disrupted, and this will lead to physical distress. Prevalence of chronic kidney disease among Bangladeshis is 22.48% which is higher than the global prevalence of chronic kidney disease. However, a little bit of awareness will go a long way in helping us to improve and maintain our kidney health.
Causes and symptoms
Most kidney patients are also suffering from diabetes. Uncontrolled and chronic diabetes is one of the leading causes of kidney failure, while another silent killer is high blood pressure. Conversely, kidney complications such as glomerulonephritis and polycystic kidney disease (PKD) may cause high blood pressure. So it is possible to find underlying kidney diseases while inspecting the causes of high blood pressure. Other factors that disrupt kidney health are diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration. However, excessive heat, burns, excessive bleeding leads to a loss of saltwater from the day, causing dehydration, which consequently leads to kidney problems. Kidney damage may also be caused by urinary retention, malnutrition, smoking, or taking the wrong medications. However, kidney diseases may also occur if the family has a history of the disease.
The symptoms of the disease usually do not show up unless the kidney is already 67-70% damaged.
However, some early signs of kidney disease include a burning sensation while urinating, frequent urination, discolored urine, smelly urine, pain on both sides of the waist and lower abdomen, and swelling of the body and face. Seek the advice of a doctor immediately if you notice these signs. If the disease is not cured within three months of treatment, it is considered to be chronic. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and nephritis (kidney inflammation) are responsible for deteriorating kidney functions for 80% of kidney patients.
Treatment and prevention
Although the treatment of kidney disease might be expensive, the examination is relatively inexpensive.
Additionally, if you drink enough water, get kidney checkups once a year, control diabetes, and hypertension, refrain from taking antibiotics, and painkillers without doctor's advice, avoid unhealthy and adulterated foods, go on regular walks, stay active, then your kidneys will stay healthy and risk of kidney disease will be significantly lowered. Furthermore, teachers and other stakeholders need to make students aware of kidney disease in educational institutions.
Modern and world-class diagnosis, consultation, and treatment of kidney disease are available in our country now. Among the investigations which could be done at Praava are, URE (Urine routine examination), Urine Albumin: Creatinine ratio (ACR), eGFR and Ultrasound of KUB region.
Other investigations are, CT scan, MRI and biopsy of kidney.
There is no cure for chronic kidney disease (CKD), but treatment can help relieve the symptoms and stop it getting worse. Treatment will depend on the stage of CKD.
The main treatments are:
- Lifestyle changes – to help stay as healthy as possible
- Medicine – to control associated problems, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, etc.
- Dialysis – treatment to replicate some of the kidney's functions, which may be necessary in advanced (stage 5) CK and
- Kidney transplant – this may also be necessary in advanced (stage 5) CKD
It is possible to prevent kidney disease through awareness and healthy living. Everyone should initiate awareness about kidney disease from their respective positions in order to propagate good kidney health.
Dr Shoaib Ahmad is a senior consultant of Family Medicine at Praava Health.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of The Business Standard.