Tag Archives: kidney disease

Categories Kidney Disease, Kundan Kidney Care Centre, Risk Factors

Physical Fitness Improves Kidney Disease Outcomes

It may seem a little unfair to talk to patients with kidney disease, especially those on dialysis, about how physically fit they are, when they’ve already got so much to deal with. It may be tempting for them to feel that they need to keep quiet and relaxed so they don’t strain anything. But keeping as fit as possible can actually help their condition.

We already know that interconnections in the body mean that if you have one physical problem, like diabetes, you have a higher likelihood of developing others such as hypertension or kidney failure. In the same way, strengthening the body to deal with or prevent one problem can ease a related problem. So a person may find that by getting some exercise they will lower their blood pressure and perhaps lose some weight. This, in turn, will ease the strain on the kidneys. And having good muscle tone and a well functioning cardiovascular system will always be of benefit.

The National Kidney Foundation recommends exercise for kidney patients, but also recognizes that they shouldn’t overdo things. It’s probably not a wise move, for example, to plan a climbing excursion to Mount Everest. But after consultation with a doctor, these patients can engage in certain recommended activities. Heavy lifting is probably out, but there are other things that can be done, some of them fairly strenuous.

For example, a type of workout that exercises a large array of muscle groups at once, and goes on continuously, can be very beneficial. This would include things like swimming, walking, cycling, or even skiing. Exercise sessions should go perhaps 30-45 minutes, every second day, three days a week.

Kidney patients may be uneasy about the extra work they might make their bodies do by exercising. But under a doctor’s supervision, getting themselves in as good a shape as possible will only do them good.

(Further reading: National Kidney Foundation)

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, Kundan Kidney Care Centre, Risk Factors

Lupus and Kidney Disease may be a Deadly Combination

Kidney disease is related to a great many other diseases and conditions, the most common being high blood pressure and heart and stroke problems. But another condition it’s often linked with is lupus. And for those who have both lupus and kidney disease, the prognosis is unfortunately not good.

Systemic lupus erathymatosus, usually just called lupus, causes damage to the skin, joints, brain, and also to the kidneys. In fact, according to an article on the HealthDay website (Kidney Disease Could Be More Deadly for Kids With Lupus, Friday December 17, 2010), about eighty percent of children with lupus also suffer kidney damage. But whether it’s adults or children who have end-stage kidney disease caused by lupus, all have a higher likelihood of death from any cause than those who have the same kidney problems stemming from a different source.

Researchers from both Johns Hopkins University and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia studied the cases of 98,000 children, and this conclusion is what the evidence suggested. Children were 2.4 times more likely to die, when suffering from kidney disease caused by lupus, than children whose disease was caused by something else. Adults had a slightly better record, yet they were still almost twice as many times more likely to die.

While many causes seemed to lead to death for people with kidney disease caused by lupus, the most common cause, according to the study, seemed to be cardiovascular disease and cardiac arrest. For this reason, the researchers suggest that patients with the lupus-kidney combination probably need extra monitoring for atherosclerosis, or the thickening of the walls of the arteries. And when kidney patients are also diagnosed with lupus, that should send up a red flag of warning, so doctors can be more alert to the increased risks of death.

The study, entitled Increased risk of death in pediatric and adult patients with ESRD secondary to lupus, is published in the January 2011 issue of the journal, Pediatric Nephrology.

Categories Kidney Diet, Kidney Disease, Kundan Kidney Care Centre

Lowering Salt Will Always Help Your Kidneys

The idea seems straightforward when you think of high blood pressure: if you lower your salt intake, you will help to lower the blood pressure, or at least prevent it from getting worse. But the systems in our bodies don’t operate in isolation, and the good you do for one of them is bound to have positive effects in others. This was demonstrated yet again by a review conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration Renal Group.

This group reviewed thirteen studies relating to salt intake in diabetic patients. What they found was not entirely surprising, but the implications of their conclusions are widespread. First of all, they confirmed once again the connection of high salt intake and blood pressure issues. So clearly, diabetics would do well to reduce salt levels in their diet for that reason alone, because this reduction lowers the risk of strokes, heart attacks, and heart failure.

But the evidence gathered in the same studies also reinforces the understanding that high blood pressure is just as hard on the kidneys as on the heart. The studies also suggested that even for people whose blood pressure hasn’t yet inched into the “high” range, lowering salt intake will still have a positive effect on heart and kidney health.

This isn’t necessarily a rule condemning people to a life of tasteless food, however. Removing salt from one’s diet provides the opportunity to discover the natural, intrinsic tastes of food, and to combine these tastes into something that as delicious without needing a salty boost. While easing the blood pressure and helping the heart and kidneys, the lessening of salt might open up a whole new culinary world.

(View the Cochrane Renal Group Summary: Suckling RJ, He FJ, MacGregor GA. Altered dietary salt intake for preventing and treating diabetic kidney disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD006763. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006763.pub2)

(Further reading: PulseToday, December 9, 2010; Nursing Times, December 10, 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

Pomegranates and Kidney Disease – Natural Wins Again!

People who advocate for more natural, less chemically-oriented treatments for bodily ailments got a boost recently, from a study showing that kidney patients on dialysis fared better when they drank pomegranate juice. The oral presentation, “One Year of Pomegranate Juice Consumption Decreases Oxidative Stress, Inflammation and Incidence of Infections in Hemodialysis Patients,” was given on Thursday, November 18, 2010, at the American Society of Nephrology’s 43rd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition in Denver, Colorado, as a part of Renal Week 2010.

Several researchers in hospitals in Israel did a year-long study in which they gave some dialysis patients pomegranate juice before their dialysis treatment, while other patients took a placebo. The researchers discovered that those who drank the pomegranate juice showed reduced inflammation and “oxidative stress.” While these things don’t halt the kidney disease itself, they significantly reduce complications that often stem from dialysis itself.

Kidney patients tend to die more from infections or cardiovascular-related problems. So it’s no small matter that those who took the pomegranate juice were shown to end up with fewer infections. They also tended to have lower blood pressure and fewer cardiovascular problems. The juice also improved their lipid profile, and had good antioxidant properties.

The researchers caution that this doesn’t mean kidney dialysis patients should start guzzling pomegranate juice all day long. The juice does have some potassium in it, and patients with chronic kidney disease could suffer potassium overload, which could also be harmful to the kidneys.

But taking pomegranate juice and monitoring potassium levels carefully could provide one way of easing pressure on the kidneys and improving the health and longevity of kidney patients. Further clinical trials are needed, but this most recent study suggests these patients could really benefit from this natural, healthy remedy.

Categories Kidney Disease

Taking Your Blood Pressure Meds Can Improve Kidney Disease Outcomes

You’d think it would be completely straightforward. Since one of the things that sometimes results from kidney disease is higher blood pressure, a kidney disease sufferer with hypertension problems would naturally take their medication. But a recent report has suggested that one-third of these patients actually don’t maintain their blood pressure treatments.

Researchers from the University of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center have just published a report that describes this problem. They took two years’ worth of data from 7,227 patients at the VA who had chronic kidney disease (CKD), and who also suffered from hypertension. And this was when they uncovered the astonishing fact that about thirty-three percent of these patients either didn’t take their blood pressure medications, or had what was described as “poor medication adherence.”

The consequence appears to be a twenty-three percent higher likelihood of a worse outcome for those CKD patients themselves, when it comes to the progression of the disease. Doctor Charuhas Thakar, associate professor at the university and chief of the renal division at the VA, points out that high blood pressure is “probably the most important modifiable risk factor in chronic kidney disease.” This means that if patients are able to regulate their blood pressure and reduce the strain on the kidneys, they can do much better at improving their kidney health and, incidentally, lowering medical costs.

The report has just been published in the November 2nd online edition of the American Journal of Nephrology. Doctor Thakar points out that the results of this analysis need further confirmation, since all of this data came only from one place. But certainly this news suggests that people with CKD should not neglect their blood pressure medication if they suffer from hypertension.

(Further reading: UC Academic Health Center News Release, November 3, 2010)

Categories Health, Kidney Disease, Kundan Kidney Care Centre, Risk Factors

Pain Killers Bad for Kidneys, Worse for CKD

Do you pop pills at the slightest pain? If you are a pill-popper here is something you should know about analgesics also known as pain killers. They may relieve your pain but may be harming a vital organ in your body: your kidneys.  Even worse is those analgesics further reduce blood flow to the kidney when a person suffers from Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).

How can the use of analgesics hurt the kidneys? The long term use of ibuprofen, naproxen sodium and other higher dose aspirin can cause chronic interstitial nephritis. For this reason, over the counter (OTC) pain relievers should not be used for more than 10 days and fever reducers for more than three days. This is clearly indicated in the warning labels of OTC analgesics. OTC analgesics include aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, naproxen sodium and ketoprofen.  Prescription analgesics are also available, and are usually stronger than OTC ones.

Additionally, analgesics and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) have been known to contribute to gastrointestinal bleeding and stomach ulcers. The use of NSAIDs also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. NSAIDs are a group of pain relievers that include ibuprofen, naproxen sodium and ketoprofen.

It is strongly recommended that analgesics be used as prescribed by your doctor, or as stated on the label for OTC drugs; they should be taken at the lowest dose; and used for a short period.

Those with reduced kidney functions are not recommended to take higher dose aspirin and NSAIDs. If necessary, kidney patients should take NSAIDs under a doctor’s care. NSAIDs also have contra-indications for people with heart disease, liver disease, high blood pressure and those over 65. These pills increase the risk of kidney failure and cause progressive kidney damage.

Meanwhile, acetaminophen is the recommended analgesic for kidney patients. Aspirin is not recommended because it acts as a “blood thinner” and may cause bleeding complications. Patients on regular acetaminophen use should be supervised by their doctors. Alcohol should be avoided while on this medication.

The good news is kidney disease caused by the use of analgesics is PREVENTABLE! Here are some guidelines on how to use analgesics without harming your kidneys: Remember what was earlier said about prolonged use? Well OTC analgesics should not be used for more than 10 days for pain, and more than 3 days for fever. Drink at least eight glasses of fluids daily when taking analgesics, and avoid drinking alcohol. Analgesics with a mixture of painkillers and caffeine in one pill should be avoided. These can drastically damage the kidneys. Read the warning labels for all OTC analgesics. Those with underlying medical conditions like high blood pressure, kidney or liver diseases should take NSAIDs under the doctor’s care.  Last but not least, your doctor should be aware of all the medications you’re taking.

Categories Kidney Disease, Kundan Kidney Care Centre, Risk Factors

Kidney Disease and St. Patrick’s Day

Four Leaf Clover 068The month of March brings some interesting coincidences for many people with full-blown kidney disease or kidneys that are at risk. March is designated as National Kidney Month in the United States, or Kidney Health Month in Canada. March 10th is also World Kidney Day. And especially in North America, March 17th is celebrated as St. Patrick’s Day. The question is whether that celebration contradicts the message of the rest of the month, about kidney disease.

That depends how you celebrate the day. Although St. Patrick’s Day ostensibly honors the priest who brought Catholicism to Ireland, many people use it as an excuse to overindulge another activity unfairly associated with that country: the excessive drinking of alcohol. Such overindulgence is worrisome even for the health of people with undamaged kidneys. But for those who are already at some stage of kidney disease, excessive alcohol consumption can bring serious harm.

The symptoms of kidney disease often don’t show up until the kidneys are already compromised. So don’t assume that you have no kidney problems, just because you have no symptoms thus far. If you tend to over-drink, you’re already creating risks for kidney disease. For example, more than two drinks a day can raise the blood pressure, and the carbohydrate overload may lead to obesity and diabetes. All are well-known precursors to kidney problems. And the extra urination and interference with blood chemistry can make the kidneys unable to maintain the chemical balances they need.

With all this in mind, it’s undoubtedly best for a kidney patient not to over-drink on St. Patrick’s Day. But does that mean you can’t celebrate at all? You should decide what you really want out of this day. Do you regard it simply as an excuse to get drunk — or does it have other associations you could concentrate on?

Kidney patients already know that if they attend parties, or meet people at a pub or restaurant, they will retain certain dietary restrictions. Good friends and family should always be willing to accommodate a friend whose health is at risk. After all, it’s still possible to have a lot of fun wearing the green, going to a St. Patrick’s Day parade, and attending other activities. And following a kidney-healthy diet, you can still create special meals.

Despite some people’s belief, excessive drinking isn’t the only way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Have fun with your friends on the day, but remember that no celebration should ever require you to risk your health or life.


Categories Kidney Disease, Risk Factors

Decrease in Diabetes-related Dialysis: Good News? Not so Fast.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just released a report on the rates of End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) in persons diagnosed with diabetes. ESRD is the stage of kidney failure where the only possible treatment is either dialysis or a transplant, and according to this report, the rates of ESRD among diabetics wentdown thirty-five percent between 1996 and 2007. That’s good news — sort of. But unfortunately, there’s more to the story than that apparent decline.

The problem is that the number of people with ESRD actually went up over that period. In 1996, a total of 32,716 began ESRD treatments, while in 2007, that number had risen to 48,712. The only reason the total percentages were lower is that the number of patients diagnosed with diabetes skyrocketed even more over that decade. So while it’s a good thing that a lower percentage of diabetics are ending up with ESRD — at the moment, anyway — there are still more people with drastic kidney failure than there used to be.

This means that nobody should pat themselves on the back. Steps still need to be taken to reduce and ultimately prevent the incidence of diabetes, and there is still a clear connection between diabetes and kidney disease. The writers of the CDC report speculate that the lower percentage of diabetic ESRD sufferers may be due to better treatments for kidney problems, or some extra attention to risk factors.

But the CDC report points out that the primary risk factors still need considerable attention. The report writers provide a disturbing list:

In addition to diabetes and hypertension, risk factors for kidney disease include cardiovascular disease, obesity, elevated cholesterol, increasing age, and a family history of kidney disease.

While it’s good news that a slightly lower percentage of diabetics are ending up with ESRD, the underlying causes are still there, and still need urgent attention.

(Further Reading: Centers for Disease Control and PreventionMedPage Today;Bloomburg Businessweek – HealthDay)

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