Kidney disease: What is it?
When waste and fluid build up in the body, kidney disease results from the damaged kidneys. It differs and relies on factors including age, gender, size, and ethnicity. Initially, they may result in swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet, as well as tiredness, shortness of breath, frequent urination, blood in the urine, loss of appetite, weight loss, and other symptoms.
CKD, or chronic kidney disease
- When kidneys are damaged, they cannot filter blood as well as they should, known as chronic renal disease.
- Major risk factors for developing kidney diseases include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and a family history of renal failure.
- The Nephrologist has the patient checked on these factors in order to determine the disease’s underlying cause.
- All five phases of kidney disease or loss, which indicate how many bodily tasks a person can still perform, are included in CKD.
- It describes how much surplus fluid and waste are removed from the blood during filtration. It can be classified from Stage 1 of little damage to Stage 5 of total renal failure.
It could be challenging to sort through information in this age of information overload and determine what is true and false. There are a colossal amount of fallacies concerning kidney disorders that circulate online and through word-of-mouth. Because of this, we’ve dispelled some popular misconceptions about kidney illnesses below. Doing so will teach you the truths underlying these urban legends and enlighten those around you.
Possible Kidney Disease Symptoms
- Nausea, vomiting, and poor appetite
- Luminous Skin (Anemia)
- Blood pressure is high.
- Breath Control Issues
- Cloudy or Frothy Urine
- Swollen eyelids
- Enlarged ankles
Some Common Myths and Facts about Kidney Diseases:
Myth: Kidney Disease is ‘Rare’ Fact:
- You might be shocked to realize how widespread renal illness is. It is highly common to have kidney disease.
- Some sort of kidney disease affects 17 out of every 100 Indians.
- In India, the incidence of kidney disease-related mortality has doubled over the past 15 years.
- In actuality, the annual death toll from kidney disease complications exceeds that from breast and colon cancer combined. The major cause of mortality in people with renal dysfunction is cardiovascular disease.
- Major risk factors for kidney disease include high blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of kidney failure, and old age. CKD is a catch-all term for a variety of kidney-damaging illnesses.
- Many people can manage their CKD for a very long period. However, there might be some very significant side effects, including renal failure, which is luckily not frequent.
Myth: Drinking Alcohol causes Kidney Disease
- Kidney disease can be brought on by a variety of factors, the most prevalent of which are diabetes and high blood pressure.
- In excess alcohol consumption, kidney injury is not a direct result. However, it can result in type 2 diabetes and obesity, which can harm them. However, occasional moderate drinking shouldn’t be an issue because your kidneys can handle modest doses of alcohol.
Myth: Kidney Stones lead to Kidney Diseases
- One in ten persons experience kidney stones. They develop when waste items in your blood crystallize, gather, and maybe congregate in your kidneys.
- If you don’t receive enough fluids or have certain medical problems, you’re more prone to acquire them. Small stones may just pass through your urine without your awareness.
- However, larger kidney stones can produce unpleasant symptoms including pain and vomiting.
- Kidney function may momentarily be hampered by a kidney stone.
- Despite how uncomfortable they are, kidney stones do not lead to the development of renal disease. Rarely do kidney stones result in long-term renal damage.
- However, there is a chance that the risk of renal illness may grow if the patient does not alter their lifestyle to avoid kidney stones from forming, although this risk will not largely be caused by the recurrence of kidney stones. This continued impact on function can occasionally increase the risk of CKD.
- However, because kidney stones and CKD have some of the same underlying causes, the connection is not entirely evident. For instance, having diabetes and being overweight increases the risk of both kidney stones and CKD.
Myth: If you have renal disease, you will know it.
- Before your kidneys are severely damaged, CKD often proceeds slowly, and you may go a long period without experiencing any symptoms.
- People who are unaware of the intricacies of kidney illness typically think that you would know if you have kidney disease because you will be in agony.
- There are several circumstances when it is reasonable to assume that you may display symptoms. You can have fatigue, trouble falling asleep, dry skin, or detect blood in your urination.
- Even while these conditions could be signs of kidney disease, many people may go for extended periods of time without showing any signs. Frequently, these symptoms don’t start to show up until the disease has reached an advanced stage. Unfortunately, most kidney disease sufferers are unaware of their condition.
- Since the majority of people do not have any symptoms in the early stages of renal disease. It’s possible that symptoms won’t show up until renal disease has advanced.
- Tests are the best method to determine whether you have kidney disease, and once you are diagnosed, there are numerous things you can do to slow the illness’s progression.
Myth: Dialysis is the sole option for treating renal illness.
- Dialysis is not necessary for all kidney disease patients.
- Exercise, dietary changes, and medication are typically used to treat it in its early stages.
- Most people can lead a normal lifestyle and halt or stop the course of renal disease using this method.
- Early diagnosis and treatment of renal illness are crucial for this reason.
- If your kidney condition worsens and leads to renal failure, dialysis or a kidney transplant may be necessary.
- Whether a patient has acute or chronic renal failure will determine how long dialysis needs to be undertaken. Acute failure might just need transient dialysis.
Myth: Having a healthy kidney is indicated by frequent urine.
- Quite the opposite. Up to 2 cups of urine can be concentrated by healthy kidneys while still eliminating waste from the body. Kidneys with illness lose this ability.
- In fact, one of the first signs that something is awry is frequent urination.
- Concentration-impaired kidneys generate a large volume of urine while failing to excrete waste.
- This results in frequent urination, which in turn increases thirst perception.
- Frequent urination can be brought on by hormone imbalances, undiagnosed diabetes, or both.
Myth: Your kidneys are safe if you don’t experience any issues with urination. Fact:
- Kidney disease symptoms don’t show up until the condition has evolved to a serious degree.
- As a result, renal illness should be completely checked out by doing appropriate medical tests; the lack of obvious symptoms is not a guarantee.
Myth: There is a cure for chronic renal disease.
- There is no cure for chronic renal illness. However, renal failure and the disease’s progression can be stopped if the illness is identified in time.
- Reduced salt consumption, a nutritious diet, giving up smoking, and regular exercise are all things that might potentially decrease the advancement of the disease.
- Dialysis or a kidney transplant will be necessary if CKD (chronic kidney disease) progresses to the point of renal failure.
- Unfortunately, there is no known therapy for CKD; instead, efforts are often made to reduce symptoms. However, you may take action to prevent it from growing worse, such as:
- if you need to stop smoking, decrease weight, and limit your daily salt
consumption to less than 6g (1 teaspoon)
- Eating a balanced, nutritious diet
- Aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise every week to keep active.
- Limiting your weekly alcohol consumption to 14 units
- Avoiding non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), which might be dangerous if you already have CKD, such as aspirin and ibuprofen
- Your nephrologist will discuss with you anything else you need to take to prevent CKD from worsening if you are diagnosed with it. This covers treating ailments like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Myth: All kidney diseases are incurable
- Kidney disease might be avoided in the majority of instances.
- According to kidney specialists, prompt identification and therapy can halt the course of certain kidney disorders (CKD) and make the majority of them reversible.
- Nearly three-fourths of all occurrences of renal failure are brought on by diabetes and high blood pressure. Maintaining management of such problems can assist you to avoid developing kidney disease.
- When treated in a timely manner, kidney disorders are treatable. When you schedule your therapy in a timely manner, there are some ailments that are curable.
- When medicine and treatment are begun on time, it does make a difference. You must act quickly to contact a nephrologist of your own.
Myth: Lower back or side discomfort is seen with kidney failure.
- One of the least frequent symptoms is pain. Most of the time, problems with the kidneys only arise when there is an obstruction in the urine’s path out of the kidney, such as when passing a kidney stone, or when a major kidney infection is present.
- Most other disorders that result in kidney failure are absolutely painless. Lower back and side discomfort are most often caused by musculoskeletal issues.
- It’s critical to distinguish the truth from myths when it comes to the condition of your kidneys.
- Back discomfort is an uncommon symptom of kidney disease. If one or both of your kidneys are infected or blocked, you may occasionally have back pain as a result of renal disease. Rarely do other types of renal illness result in back discomfort.
- Not renal illness, but spinal or back muscle disease, is the most frequent cause of back discomfort. Only when the kidney’s covering, known as the capsule, is stretched does the kidney experience discomfort. This indicates that discomfort may occur from enlargement of the kidney brought on by an infection or a restriction of urine flow (caused, for example, by a kidney stone).
- In most cases, kidney discomfort radiates from the side of the back (under the ribs), and it may curve to the side to hurt the groin.
Myth: Kidney disease testing is a time-consuming and expensive process.
- It’s surprisingly simple to test for kidney illness. During a typical appointment with your healthcare practitioner, it may be accomplished with two straightforward, affordable tests.
- A quick urine test to determine the presence of protein. Kidney disease may be indicated by a trace of protein in your urine.
- An easy blood test to determine glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Your GFR value indicates how well your kidneys are functioning.
Myth: Nobody is aware of the causes of renal illness. Fact:
- Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two most typical contributors to renal damage. Both can damage the small blood vessels in your kidneys, which can be harmful to your kidneys. The kidneys might be harmed by several different disorders. These consist of:
- Heart condition
- Glomerulonephritis, a condition that causes kidney inflammation
- Diseases that you are born with, such as polycystic kidney disease, which results in kidney cyst formation.
Myth: AKI inevitably results in CKD Fact:
- When your kidneys suddenly cease functioning correctly (over hours and days), typically as a result of another significant illness, you have acute kidney injury (AKI). In actuality, AKI is more likely to impact patients who are already ill and hospitalized.
- The majority of AKI sufferers recover with therapy, but occasionally it can harm the body permanently and result in CKD.
- It’s important to be aware that CKD is one of the disorders that might first cause AKI.
Myth: CKD cannot be prevented since it is inherited Fact:
- According to research, those with a certain genetic make-up may be more susceptible to CKD. However, not everyone who carries these genetic variants experiences renal issues. Additionally, not all CKD patients have these genetic variants.
- The situation is more nuanced than that in actuality. Common factors include underlying illnesses including high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.
- Your chance of getting CKD and the associated underlying illnesses is also influenced by lifestyle variables such your food, amount of exercise, and whether you smoke.
Myth: Two Kidneys are needed to be Alive
- This is not true. Even if you only have one kidney, you can still be healthy and normal.
- There are a few reasons why you could only have one kidney. One in a thousand persons are born with only one.
- Some people choose to give one of their kidneys to a friend, family member, or complete stranger. Others must have one removed due to medical reasons.
- The majority of the time, having one kidney should not be problematic, however your doctor may want to check your blood pressure and renal function. Some individuals with a single kidney at birth are never even aware of their condition.
- A single functional kidney, which implies you have two kidneys but only one of them functions effectively, is different from a solitary kidney.
Myth: If one kidney fails, renal failure may result.
- No, renal failure only happens when both kidneys are damaged. Most often, persons who have one kidney fully fail may not have any symptoms, and in such circumstances, the blood test results for blood urea nitrogen and creatinine may still fall within the normal range.
- However, when both kidneys are damaged, waste products build up in the body and kidney failure may be indicated by elevated blood levels of urea nitrogen and creatinine.
Myth: Once dialysis is started, it must be continued forever.
- Dialysis is necessary for a brief period of time until kidney function returns in most cases of acute renal failure (with appropriate therapy).
- End-stage chronic renal disease patients need dialysis for the rest of their lives until they receive a kidney transplant.
Myth: If you feel fine, you can stop taking medication.
- Many CKD patients experience excellent health with appropriate therapy and may stop taking drugs or receiving treatment.
- Such a withdrawal can be risky since it may trigger a fast decline in renal function and an early need for dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Myth: Renal transplants can treat chronic renal disease
- In addition to the aforementioned issue, some people believe that a kidney transplant can cure them of their chronic renal illness.
- A kidney transplant is another treatment that can help with your overall health but cannot totally cure it, just as the illness can be delayed but not completely cured (via medicine or lifestyle modifications).
- A deceased donor kidney transplant typically lasts 10 or 15 years if it comes from a living donor. Patients will need to take immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of their lives (to avoid rejection), regardless of the donor utilized.
Therefore, it can be challenging to sort through information in our practically endless information era to determine what is genuine and what is untrue. Thus, we’re here to dispel some of the widespread misunderstandings regarding chronic renal disease that have been spread online and through word-of-mouth.