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. Almost 10% of the adult population above the age of 40 years suffer from some impairment of kidney function.
Types of kidney diseases:
- Acute: Sudden reduction in the kidney function due to reduced blood supply following dehydration due to conditions like gastroenteritis, heart attack or blood loss. If the underlying disease is not rapidly corrected, the patient may die. On the contrary if the underlying disease is corrected, the patient recovers fully and may require only temporary dialysis.
- Chronic: The most important cause of this is diabetes in the middle aged or elderly population. High blood pressure is also an important reason and can add with diabetes to produce a bad outcome. Both the above conditions slowely affect the kidney over the years. The body can adapt itself till ninety percent of the kidney is 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. Subsequently the 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 kidney damage in a diabetic individual is reduced vision due to retinopathy. Another curse of modern development is the excessive intake of drugs such as pain killers, so called tonics and various other unstudied alternate or native medical preparations. Over a long period of time, these drugs tend to damage the kidney. Needless to say, patients are often asymptomatic and only after a careful laboratory evaluation is the kidney disease detected.
Symptoms of 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 and wrists.
- Lower back pain, where the kidneys are located.
- Burning sensation during urination.
- Bloody, foamy or coffee-coloured urine.
- High blood pressure.
- Changes in the frequency of urination and/or in urine colour.