There has been an increase in the incidence of kidney disease due to the ageing of the population, increased prevalence of diabetes and hypertension in the population and increased detection methods. When kidney disease is chronic, it is often without any symptom till it reaches advanced stage. Almost 10% of the adult population above the age of 40 years suffer from some impairment of kidney function if sensitive tests are used
Types of kidney diseases:
- Acute: Sudden reduction in the kidney function which is potentially reversible. The reasons may be drop in blood pressure due to dehydration , heart attacks, blood loss etc. It can also be due to toxins which affect the kidney or obstruction to the kidneys . If the underlying reason is corrected the kidney function can return to normal. Otherwise it could be life threatening . The patient may require temporary dialysis and correction of the underlying problem.
- Chronic: When the kidney function is reduced over a period of more than three months. The important causes are high blood pressure, diabetes and ageing. After the age of 40, every year there is a reduction in the kidney function at least by 1%. Allergic conditions like nephritis, toxins can also slowly affect the kidney over the years. The body can adapt itself till almost ninety percent of the kidneys are damaged and hence patients do not show any symptoms. Detection is done by laboratory testing of the urine and blood. Albumin leak is the earliest parameter warning of kidney damage. Urea and creatinine rise in the blood indicate the severity of kidney failure. It is unfortunate that still many patients are detected at this stage and not at the early stage of albumin leak when corrective measures can be taken. An important marker of possible vascular and kidney damage in a diabetic individual is reduced vision due to retinopathy. Majority of the medicines including drugs in the alternate system like ayurveda, siddha and homeopathy are removed by the kidneys. This makes the kidney vulnerable for damage by these medications. Patients are often asymptomatic and only after a careful laboratory evaluation is the kidney disease detected.
Symptoms of Acute Kidney Disease ( More pronounced ):
- Reduction in urine output.
- Alteration in urine colour.
- Swelling of the body.
- Sudden rise in blood pressure.
Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease:
- No symptoms till almost 80% of the kidneys are damaged.
- Getting up in the night to pass urine especially in the young.
- Swelling of parts of the body, particularly around the eyes, ankles.
- Bloody, foamy or coffee-coloured urine.
- High blood pressure.
- Changes in the frequency of urination and/or in urine colour.
- Generalised tiredness due to anemia and muscle weakness.
- Poor growth in children.