As and when each passing day of 2020 claims the life of some or the personality, people start new trends. For example, the alleged suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput brought to the limelight the topic of mental health and suicide prevention. Similarly, the demise of Chadwick Boseman and Irrfan Khan shed some light on their respective cancers. And now the talk of the town seems to be chronic kidney disease (CKD) which has claimed the life of famous singer Anuradha Paudwal’s son and music composer, Aditya Paudwal at a mere age of 35 years.
While celebrities and fans mourn the loss, you must be thinking by now, what exactly is CKD? Well, Mayo clinic defines CKD as a disease or condition that impairs kidney function, causing kidney damage to worsen over several months or years. It could be a sequela of the following-
- Type 1 or type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Glomerulonephritis an inflammation of the kidney’s filtering units (glomeruli)
- Interstitial nephritis, an inflammation of the kidney’s tubules and surrounding structures
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Prolonged obstruction of the urinary tract, from conditions such as enlarged prostate, kidney stones, and some cancers
- Vesicoureteral reflux, a condition that causes urine to back up into your kidneys
- Recurrent kidney infection also called pyelonephritis
CKD can, in turn, affect the body functioning and any infection could even turn fatal after one point. Albeit, kidney diseases, and risks are usually associated with age and lifestyle, even healthy people are prone to suffer from kidney diseases. Kidney failure or ‘renal failure’ usually strikes due to the failure of kidneys to work or efficiently filter out waste and toxins from the body. This poses a risk to the overall well-being of the person. The impending risks get extreme if the condition is left untreated or undiagnosed for long, increasing the mortality rate, too.
The problem statement globally denotes that kidney failure and chronic kidney diseases affect up to 10% of the world population, with high prevalence rates in India. A 2019 NCBI statistic study showed that CKD is on the rising trend in India, with over 0.1 million people diagnosed every year. As mentioned earlier, since diabetes and hypertension also contribute to this disease, a higher number in Indian subcontinent leads to greater load of kidney disease here.
Other factors that can potentially affect overall kidney health are: External or internal kidney trauma, autoimmune diseases, exposure to toxic chemicals or pollutants and acute dehydration. CKD shows more predisposition to females, than males owing to presence of higher cases of urinary tract infection in females. Hence, it is of utmost importance to keep an eye for any warning signs of CKD, because early prevention and mitigation can help progression of the disease into higher stages. Sad but true reality of CKD is that a good majority of the cases are normally detected in the end stage renal disease (ESRD) where the treatment and curability seems farfetched.
Thus, it is better to be vigilant if you face any of the following symptoms-
- Painful or burning urination
- Swelling in the body, caused by fluid retention
- Shortness of breath
- Mental confusion
- Nausea or vomiting coupled with fever
When it comes to treatment options, that will depend on the stage of CKD. Besides other factors like age, lifestyle etc may also play a significant role in influencing the success of treatment. Dialysis is usually reserved for ESRD where nothing else works. Other options like antibiotics, immunotherapy and kidney transplants have been used for achieving cure. Simultaneously, this also dictates an adoption of strict diet regimes and disciplined lifestyles to supplement the process. On the diet front, the most common course of correction includes limiting the intake of certain nutrients like sodium, potassium, phosphorus and sometimes, even protein laden foodstuffs.
Always remember, the very fact that we humans have been granted intelligence and the power to understand the signals our body sends us, and seek out appropriate solutions if something seems off the charts. Only then can we take the necessary steps to live healthy for longer in order to live to our fullest and achieve our life goals.
Written by Dr. Aafreen Kotadiya
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