When it comes to maintaining good kidney health, early diagnosis of chronic diseases such as diabetes, blood pressure and symptoms such as swelling in the feet, ankles, legs, backache can go a long way in keeping your kidneys healthy. Dr Rajaram Jagdale, Specialist Nephrologist, Thumbay University Hospital advises that one of the first signs of developing or existing kidney disorder could be swelling in the feet, ankles and legs that leave a dimple on the skin when pressure is applied, which is caused due to too much fluid in the tissues (due to leakage of proteins from the kidney filters).
Kidneys perform a very crucial function of filtering out waste products from the blood, and eliminating them out of the body through urine, thus maintaining water and electrolyte balance. Often high BP and diabetic patients get kidney issues as high BP can constrict blood vessels, which eventually damages and weakens them. These diseases put you at an increased risk of slowly damaging your kidneys.
The theme of World Kidney Day 2023 suggests: Kidney Health for All – Preparing for the unexpected, supporting the vulnerable. It is, therefore, important to create awareness about the problems faced by patients suffering from chronic kidney diseases. About 1 out of 10 persons in the world are currently having kidney disease and it is expected to worsen. Around 40 per cent of kidney patients come late and then have to rely on dialysis and or opt for kidney transplant. You need to keep a close watch on some of the major risk factors such as uncontrolled sugars and blood pressure; obesity, sedentary lifestyle, dietary habits containing high carbohydrate and high salt; consumption of chronic painkillers and smoking.
How do you diagnose the onset of kidney disease?
The earliest test is the presence of protein in the urine. Normally functioning kidneys do not allow passage of albumin in the urine and finding albumin in the urine is a marker of kidney disease.
This test can become abnormal even when the blood markers of kidney function are normal. The recommended test is “Urine albumin creatinine ratio” or 24 hour urine check up for protein and this test is used to both diagnose and monitor diabetic kidney disease over time. The blood tests for kidney function include blood urea, creatinine and electrolytes like sodium, potassium and calcium.
Treatment that can make a difference
Once a patient is detected to have kidney disease, he/she should be in regular follow up with the nephrologist (kidney specialist). To reduce the risk of progression of chronic kidney disease, blood sugar and BP should be regularly monitored and controlled. Lifestyle modifications include exercise, adequate hydration, no smoking and dietary restrictions like low carb and salt intake. Intake of pain medications should be only under the guidance of a nephrologist.
While transplant provides complete renal replacement, the scarcity of donor kidneys limits this option. Therefore, for people with end stage kidney disease, haemodialysis works as the best alternative.
Thumbay University Hospital offers the following services for patients:
• 24/7 availabilty of specialists and nephrology doctors
• Permacath Insertion
• AV Fistula Formation
• AV Fistula Angiography and Plasty
• Kidney Biopsy