Does kidney disease affect other organs?

Kidneys are a very important factor in our body. They play an integral role in efficient filtering of waste and toxic substances and returning of vitamins, glucose , hormones ,and other essential nutrients back to the body.

Can you imagine a life without kidneys? Absolutely NO .Kidneys are a critical part of the body that aids in sustaining life. Besides removing waste material, kidneys also remove the acids produced by body cells and help in maintaining a healthy balance of water, salt and minerals such as calcium, sodium potassium, phosphorus in blood. We need to always maintain a healthy kidney. But sometimes, failure to do this makes kidney health poor and results in various problematic situations. If you don’t take care of your kidneys then poor kidney health conditions may lead you to suffer from disorders such as kidney infection, polycystic kidney disease , kidney damage, chronic kidney disease,  kidney injury, and even kidney failure in extreme cases. You must keep a track of your health report periodically. One of the most fatal conditions for kidneys is chronic kidney disease that keeps progressing over a  long period of time and has no cure. It is characterized into 5 stages of which the end stage renal disease is dangerous and  needs serious treatment like transplantation. With increase in kidneys disorder several other chaos starts happening in body, for example your blood pressure, blood sugar level increases, creatinine level increases, patients suffer from other disarrays such as shortness of breath, puffiness around eyes, swollen ankles and feet, dizzy head, sudden muscle cramps, itchy skin etc. Along with these physical problems some people may even suffer from behavioural changes like stress, anxiety, depression, anger, hostility and poor  social relations. kidney problems and  not related to the kidneys only but to almost all the organs of the body because each organ’s  functions are coordinated inside the humans.

Each organ has a specific job to do but still they depend on each other to function well and coordinate. When one organ does not work well, it may put stress on other organs and hinder their effective working strategies. let us see how a malfunction of kidney affect other organs

The heart 

  • The heart is put under some serious stress when the kidneys don’t work well. When a patient suffers from CKD, the heart has to pump blood to the kidneys strongly and hardly.
  • Patients with CKD have higher chances of getting a cardiovascular disease.
  • Also, while performing dialysis or transplantation, there are huge risk factors associated with getting a heart attack or stroke.
  • This also causes high blood pressure which makes kidney function even worse.
  • Kidneys remove waste products and toxic materials but failure to do this, causes your blood to contain too much of toxins and  becomes a barrier for smooth functioning of other organs especially the heart.
  • CKD causes various complications such as vascular and myocardial remodelling process, atherosclerotic lesions, vascular classification, vascular senescence, myocardial fibrosis and classification of cardiac valves.
  • CKD affects the heart rate as it is associated with increasing sympathetic tone and cardiac autonomic neuropathy which in turn is measured by cardiovascular reflex test and heart rate variability. The normal cardiac rhythm gets disturbed by kidney problems. So we can see an increase in heartbeat causes shortness of breath.
  • Also, kidney patients have increased serum creatinine levels in the body and is associated with increased mortality rate especially among the hypertensive patients. you may also feel  chest pain in certain cases.
  • Some cases such as kidney failure with uraemia troubles the heart and also result in pericardial effusion.
  • CKD affects other organs equally as that of kidneys, it puts vital organs like heart at major risk. You need to manage renal diseases and its underlying causes such as high blood pressure, sugar levels, hypertension to minimise the chances of getting cardiovascular diseases.
  • Managing the symptoms can make it easy for other organs as well to function smoothly. Follow a proper diet, stay active, control sugar levels, and exercise regularly. These healthy daily lifestyle habits will surely help your body to run in coordination with others.

The blood system

  • Kidneys filter waste and toxic materials from the body. Failure to do this causes toxic materials to be infused with the blood. When intoxicated blood reaches other organs then it creates a problem for other organs as they couldn’t get enough oxygen for regular functioning and sometimes toxic materials also get deposited causing inflammation in that particular area.
  • Kidneys are responsible for production of erythropoietin hormone but since the kidneys are damaged so this hormone is not produced.
  • Lack of erythropoietin hormone in the blood causes decline in red blood cell count ultimately making the patient suffer from anaemia., Anaemia will make you feel fatigue , tiredness and shortness of breath, dizziness.
  • Anaemia can be cured by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, taking supplements, red blood cell transfusions and adherence to an iron rich diet.

The integumentary system

  • When having a kidney disease , its early warning signs cannot be interpreted through the integumentary system.
  • As the  kidney problem progresses, you may see some ill effects on your integumentary system, that is your skin.

Here are some of the ways how CKD affect your skin

  • Skin can become extremely dry. It becomes rough and scaly. it may feel tight and  crack easily and that can cause you some pain.
  • Sometimes, it is inevitable that some fish-like scales may appear on the skin. Skin becomes extremely dry specially during end stage renal disease that is an urgent need of dialysis or transplant.
  • Another issue is itchy skin. The skin may itch most of the time. Sometimes itching in one area may be widespread to other regions of the body as well.
  • Scratch marks :- The common sign you often see when you scratch. You may develop itchy bumps ( nodularis prurigo) , leathery skin ( linen simplex chronicus ) or even bleeding.
  • Due to build up of toxins in the body, your skin colour may also change . It becomes darker . Some of the noticeable colours include an unhealthy pale colour, grey bumps , cysts that look like whiteheads. 
  • People with advanced kidney disease  often see changing appearance of fingernails, toenails or both. White patches may also appear on the upper part of the nails. Since your nails reveal a lot about your health, you need to contact a doctor first to clear all the doubts related to it.
  • Due to being unable to remove extra salt and fluids  from the body ,it causes swelling in some parts like your legs, ankles, feet, hand and face.
  • Rashes are quite common that you encounter while facing a kidney disease.
  • And another jeopardy sign of kidney cancer can be traced through a lump in your belly region. If the lump is spread to other parts like Side, belly or lower back then immediately consult a doctor.
  • If you feel hardness or skin too tight  to pinch then this is an extremely rare side effect that needs serious consultation.
  • Kidneys have been assigned various jobs to do. One of them is to balance certain minerals and vitamins in blood such as  calcium, potassium and phosphorus.  An  unhealthy balance of these vitamins can lead to calcium deposits in various body parts usually around joints which in higher age cause you a lot of pain.

The skeletal system

  • Kidneys are known to balance minerals in the body. Failure of kidneys   imbalances minerals. Due to this imbalance, the high levels of parathyroid hormone draws calcium from the bones into blood making bones weak, thin and malformed.
  • Patients with higher age or women who conquered menopause are at greater risk of developing a joint pain. 90% of dialysis patients suffer from this.
  • Along with major body check-ups, minerals, especially calcium levels, should be monitored regularly to talk about bone health, its stability and safety.
  • A large number of people are seen suffering from major problems in joints. A condition called amyloidosis  , a protein amyloid is deposited in the joints and tendons. This results in pain, stiffness and uneasy walking due to fluid build-up in joints.
  • So kidney patients should not walk for more miles and on stairs as the pain may increase in intensity.
  • Kidney patients are at higher risk of hairline cracks and  fractures because CKD impairs both bone quality and strength due to calcium loss.
  • Kidneys are not able to make enough of Vitamin D, so no matter what you eat your body absorbs less calcium and becomes low in blood. Try to get maximum sunlight and maintain a healthy and rich vitamin D diet.
  • Also ,CKD increases the chances of osteoarthritis. Women are at a  risk of getting gout.

The circadian system

  • Due to the unavoidable symptoms caused by kidney problems hampers the natural rhythm of the body , especially your sleep cycle.
  • Kidney patients generally suffer from insomnia , they  are unable to  stay asleep at night affecting their breathing system, quality of life and restless leg syndrome as well.
  •  Sleep deprivation sometimes becomes the major cause of many underlying diseases. Poor sleeping habits cause stress, depression, anxiety etc.
  • Circadian rhythms usually mean a 24 hour period or cycle. kidney problems impairs the regular cycle and increases the chances of getting cardiovascular complications.
  • And disturbances in circadian rhythms are related with several health problems such as psychosis, metabolic syndrome, obesity and even cancer.
  • The circadian rhythms coordinate with molecular clock work of the brain and peripheral organs and inability to do so will make bodies physiology poor further.
  • Due to lack of sleep, there is a hormone production called melatonin which is responsible for maintaining daily life cycles. So try to get enough sleep, if not during the night then compensate by sleeping during the day so that your body can work well and relax.
  • Exercise and do specified yoga which will help you to maintain a sleep cycle. You can also take sleep hygiene counselling and medication to manage irregular Circadian cycles with CKD.

The nervous system

  • Some common neurological complications include strike, cognitive dysfunction , peripheral and autonomic neuropathies and are high on mortality risks.
  • CKD with mineral imbalance in the body, affects different problems like depression, stress, Anxiety ultimately affecting the nervous system.
  • Continued ignorance of CKD symptoms causes continued problems in the nervous system.

The digestive system

  • Chronic kidney diseases are seen affecting the gastrointestinal functions that cause several adaptive and maladaptive responses.
  • Most commonly patients suffer from the symptoms of abnormal bowel health of which Constipation is the most common.
  • The other symptoms include nausea, vomiting and stomach upset.
  • Sometimes, CKD even causes bloating and gas problems.
  • Due to kidney failure, high amounts of urea in the blood causes various gastrointestinal issues that include poor appetite, nausea, gastrointestinal beads and diarrhoea.
  • It is better to talk to a nutritionist(www.kidney care who will help you create a dietary regime for proper health of CKD and its associated organs.

The immune system

  • due to kidney failure and build up of toxins in the body, the most common thing you suffer is the less immune response.
  • Excess toxins accumulated  in the bloodstream and are very harmful for the organs and this also inhibits the bone marrow cells to produce new cells causing lack of enough oxygen to the organs.
  • The symptoms associated with CKD like elevated sugar levels, insomnia, depression and damaged skin are all contributing factors for the body’s ability to fight infections.
  • Kidney disease has a multi system effect inhibiting smooth functioning of various organs.
  • Specially the people who are on dialysis usually have very low immune response and are more prone to various infections.

The eyes

  • Generally patients who have kidney infection or who are on dialysis are seen with red, dry and sore eyes that feel gritty.
  • Extra calcium and phosphate also gets deposited on the eyes causing irritation and redness.
  • The most common eye problems that occur in patients with CKD are retinopathy, cataracts and glaucoma.

The hair

  • , due to toxins in the blood and inefficient oxygen supply, the hair becomes thin and grizzly.,.
  • You may also suffer hair fall.

How can you stop CKD affecting other organs?

  • The only way to manage CKD and its ill effects is to control its symptoms because reversing CKD completely is not possible. There are many effective tips to control CKD symptoms
  • Regulation of your blood pressure and blood sugar levels is mandatory.
  • Avoid high sodium, that is salt , phosphorus, potassium and sugar contents in your diet.
  • Eat a healthy diet, choose the best foods as recommended by the dietitian for increasing GFR levels and decrease serum creatinine levels as well.
  •  Physical activities should be made a part of your daily routine. Avoid high intensity workout as they would put a stress on kidneys.
  • Do light physical exercises, yoga as per recommended by the health specialist.
  • Do not take stress, anxiety as they will affect body Physiology and impair kidney functioning even more.
  • Engage yourself in stress relieving activities.

Foods that help in lowering serum creatinine levels

  • Eat less protein, that is red meat and fish products.
  • Eat more fibre.
  • You can choose low potassium foods that include cucumber, carrots, lettuce, apples, cranberries, grapes.
  • You can have rice as your staple diet.
  • Consult a dietitian who will help you to fight infection effectively and lower creatinine levels.
  • Drink optimum amount of water.
  • You can add some herbs to aid the test.
  • Avoid spicy and oily food.

Is recovery from stage 4 or stage 5 CKD possible?

  • During the stage for CKD, the GFR drops to between 15 and 29. The kidney disease has increased a lot in such cases and since it cannot be reversed the only way to control it is to manage its symptoms and follow proper medication.
  • The stage 5 CKD is also known as the end stage renal disease in which the estimated GFR drops to below 15 and kidneys are put at a greater risk.
  • Stage 5 CKD patients become very close to kidney failure or have already failed.
  • The CKD at the stage becomes irreversible only you need to manage its ill effect. Also you need dialysis and transplantation for a safer side and to continue life.

Can I stop dialysis suddenly?

  • The early stage kidney patients may stop dialysis on being recommended by the nephrologist.
  • The later stages of CKD, that is stage 4 and 5, need dialysis to lower serum creatinine levels . Without dialysis, toxins will develop in the body causing other consequences.
  • Stopping dialysis will cause puffiness, swelling around ankles, feet and ultimately kidney failure and death.
  • So it’s better to consult nephrologists always and then take any step regarding this to avoid any disturbance in the body.
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