Kidney Diseases

Kidney Disease – No time to kid

There is an an increasing prevalence of kidney disease all around the world and also in our country. Most people know that a major function of the kidneys is to remove waste products and excess fluid from the body. These waste products and excess fluid are removed through the urine. This process is necessary to maintain a stable balance of body chemicals. The critical regulation of the body's salt, potassium and acid content is performed by the kidneys. The kidneys also produce hormones that affect the function of other organs. For example, a hormone produced by the kidneys stimulates red blood cell production. Other hormones produced by the kidneys help regulate blood pressure and control calcium metabolism.

The kidneys are powerful chemical factories that perform the following functions:

remove waste products from the body
remove drugs form the body
balance the body's fluids
release hormones that regulate blood pressure
produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones
control the production of red blood cells

What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

Chronic kidney disease includes conditions that damage your kidneys and decrease their ability to keep you healthy by doing the jobs listed above. If kidney disease gets worse, wastes can build to high levels in your blood and make you feel sick. You may develop complications like high blood pressure, anemia (low blood count), weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage. Also, kidney disease increases your risk of having heart and blood vessel disease.

Who are the people at high risk of Chronic Kidney Disease ?

Anyone can get chronic kidney disease at any age. However, some people are more likely than others to develop kidney disease. You may have an increased risk for kidney disease if you:

have diabetes
have high blood pressure
have a family history of chronic kidney disease
are older
belong to a population group that has a high rate of diabetes or high blood pressure, such as Indians.

What are the symptoms of CKD?

Most people may not have any severe symptoms until their kidney disease is advanced. However, you may notice that you:feel more tired and have less energy have trouble concentrating

have a poor appetite
have trouble sleeping
have muscle cramping at night
have swollen feet OR puffiness around your eyes, especially in the morning
have dry, itchy skin
need to urinate more often, especially at night.

Hence it is important for people who have diabetes, high blood pressure or those who have may of the above symptoms to get themselves screened for kidney disease and get thoer kidney function (GFR) checked. An early diagnosis and prompt treatment can help avoid dialysis and transplantation or prolong the life of the kidneys and delay the need for the same.

Dr Sanjeev Gulati
Senior Consultant Nephrologist
Fortis Hospital Vasant Kunj, New delhi
Mobile 98716-00885