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Categories Kidney Disease, Kundan Kidney Care Centre, Risk Factors

Retina Problems and Chronic Kidney Disease

In another instance demonstrating the interconnectivity of people’s bodily systems, a study about eye problems has led to an observation about kidney disease. The Beaver Dam Eye Study, according to their own description, was designed to “collect information on the prevalence and incidence of age-related cataract, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.” But along the way, they also drew some conclusions about how disease of the kidneys, along with high blood pressure, can also affect the eyes.

Retinopathy, or the disease of the retina causing possible loss of vision, has always been associated with diabetes. But the researchers with the study learned that even those without diabetes can be at higher risk of retinopathy, if they have certain other health conditions. One was uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure), and the other was chronic kidney disease.

In 4,699 people between ages 43 and 86 (remember that this was an age-related study), the risk of experiencing retinopathy over a 15-year period was 14.2%. And in those study subjects who had either uncontrolled hypertension or chronic kidney disease, the risk of such negative effects on the eyes increased. That applied to subjects who were not diabetic, so the extra risk cannot be blamed on diabetes. In fact, several other things that one might have considered a real risk did not seem to factor in at all. These would include such things as smoking, body mass index (which would rule out obesity), or inflammation.

These interconnections shouldn’t be a surprise. Hypertension and kidney disease often do interact, and diabetes frequently involves extra complications such as high blood pressure and strain on the kidneys. People don’t always experience all three at the same time, but they are clearly related to each other. So it’s probably not a surprise that retinopathy – which is a very high risk for diabetics – can also factor into hypertension and kidney disease as well.

(Sources: Ocular Surgery News Supersite, December 23, 2010; The Beaver Dam Eye Study.)

Categories Kidney Diet, Kidney Disease, Kundan Kidney Care Centre

Kidney Disease and Packaged Foods

Nephrologists in India have concluded that one thing those with kidney disease should avoid is packaged foods. And needless to say, this precaution doesn’t just apply to India. Pre-packaged foods, full of preservatives and other chemicals, are prevalent all over the world. So this caution applies in many other countries as well.

Doctor K.C. Prakash, a senior consulting nephrologist for the Apollo Hospitals in India, reminds people of the bad effects from some of these extra chemicals in packaged food. He notes that one effect of eating a lot of this food is an increase of potassium in the body. Those suffering from chronic kidney disease or renal failure have less ability to eliminate potassium. Therefore, if they accumulate too much potassium, it could result in heart problems or outright heart failure.

Another problem with packaged food is that it tends to be much saltier than freshly cooked food. Extra salt is one thing that helps preserve these meals, after all, to extend their shelf life. Yet it’s a well-proven fact that too much salt can cause or worsen hypertension (high blood pressure), which also puts a strain on the kidneys.

There are other substances in these foods, such as phosphorus, that cause problems with other parts of the body. But for people in renal failure or even in the early stages of kidney disease, the salt and extra potassium alone should be enough to set off alarm bells. Checking labels to find the actual contents in packaged food can be a real eye-opener.

These cautions are helpful for both kidney patients and those with healthy kidneys. Eating fresh, healthy foods is almost always recommended for achieving or maintaining good health. This information about how packaged foods can affect people with kidney disease just provides one more reason.

(Further information: Times of India, December 29, 2010)

Categories Kidney Disease

High Blood Pressure and Kidney Disease

High blood pressure is one of the risk factors for kidney disease. This doesn’t mean that blood pressure problems always lead to problems with the kidneys, but high blood pressure is certainly one of the things that can cause them damage. But how exactly does it do that?

According to MedicineNet.com, the damage from high presure is caused not just to the kidneys, but to a person’s blood vessels in general. The measurement of one’s blood pressure involves how much force the blood exerts against the walls of the blood vessels as the heart pumps. Various factors like retention of fluid or clogged vessels can make the heart work harder and increase the pressure as it works to push blood through.

One reason high blood pressure can lead to kidney problems is that it damages the blood vessels there as well as in other parts of the body. This sometimes results in substances collecting along the inside walls of the blood vessels, thickening them so that the blood pressure goes up. And a vicious cycle can often be created, in which the kidneys can’t remove all the wastes carried in the blood vessels, which leads to a higher fluid volume in the blood vessels, which leads to higher blood pressure.

As is the case with other physical causes of kidney disease, the root issue is frequently that the kidneys are simply made to work much harder than they should. Eventually they simply wear out, and stop being capable of filtering wastes out of the blood. Damage caused to blood vessels by high blood pressure is one of the insidious ways kidneys can be harmed.

People most often think of strokes and heart attacks as dangers people can face if they have high blood pressure. But kidney failure is another major risk, and demonstrates another reason why it is absolutely necessary to keep one’s blood pressure under control.

(Further reading: MedicineNet.com; Wikipedia – Hypertensive Nephropathy)

Categories Kidney Disease

Tell tale signs of kidney disease

The symptoms for early stage of kidney disease are so faint that often it takes years to discover that someone may have kidney disease.

The purpose of this article is to empower you with knowledge so that at the end of this reading you are equipped to understand the symptoms of kidney failure or kidney disease. Please keep in mind, many of these symptoms can be caused by something other than kidney disease, so the only way to confirm is to have regular checkups and see your doctor.

1. Urine:Usually urine is a prime indicator for a lot of things happening in your body. Its color, frequency and quantity can deliver a lot of information. Since kidneys make urine, this could be the prime indicator to determine the health of your kidneys.

Some of the things that may point to a potential problem are: foamy or bubbly urine, increase in frequency and quantity, pale urine, dark colored urine, blood in the urine and difficulty urinating.

2. Swelling: Kidneys make urine, and extra fluid is disposed from the body through it.If there is a kidney problem, fluid will start to build up in the body, and that will lead to swelling in the ankles, feet, face and hands.

3. Skin Rash/Itching:Kidneys remove waste from the bloodstream. When kidneys fail, the buildup of waste in your blood can cause severe itching.

4. Nausea and Vomiting:A severe buildup of waste in the blood (uremia) can also cause nausea and vomiting. Loss of appetite can lead to weight loss.

5. Shortness of Breath:Trouble catching your breath can be related to kidneys in two ways. First, extra fluid in the body can build up in the lungs. And second, anemia (a shortage of oxygen-carrying red blood cells) can leave your body oxygen-starved and you short of breath.

Other symptoms may include tiredness, metallic taste in the mouth, pain in the side and trouble concentrating.

Here is a chart indicating the stages of kidney disease:

Stage Description GFR
1 Slight kidney damage with normal or increased filtration More than 90
2 Mild decrease in kidney function 60-89
3 Moderate decrease in kidney function 30-59
4 Severe decrease in kidney function 15-29
5 Kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplantation Less than 15

 

What to do once you realize you have kidney disease?

Understand your lab tests: Once your doctor suspects that you have kidney disease, he/she is going to request some lab tests including blood and urine. Make an effort to understand the readings and what the consequences are if the readings get out of range. Get involved in your own care. Be proactive and know what is going on with your body.

Diabetes and Hypertension: The two main causes for kidney disease are diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure). Take charge and monitor these two conditions very closely. If these are ignored, things may get out of control sooner than you think. Diabetes will also start to impact your eyesight. Speak with your doctor and learn how both diabetes and hypertension can be kept under control.

Protein: Kidneys that are already compromised will need to work overtime to digest high protein food. Start a low protein diet.

Smoking: If you are a smoker suffering from diabetes and start to have kidney issues, stop smoking immediately. Smoking will cause irreparable damage and will cause the kidney disease to grow much faster.

Medication: Do not take any medication without consulting your doctor, especially pain killers.

Anemia: Anemia is a pretty common side effect of kidney disease. Consult your doctor to address this issue.