FAQs

There are 2 kidneys, each about the size of a fist, located on either side of the spine at approximately waist height. They perform following functions:

  1. Remove waste products from the body and maintain constant volume and composition of body fluid.
  2. Release hormones that regulates blood pressure
  3. They produce a hormone called erythropoietin which plays an important role in the formation of red blood cells (RBC)
  4. Make our bones strong and healthy by activating vitamin D

There are 2 ways in which kidneys get damaged

  1. Acute kidney Injury (AKI) in which kidney function suddenly decreases within a few days or even hours. The kidney function returns to normal in most cases once the causative factor (e.g. infection, dehydration) is removed. A patient may need temporary dialysis support until kidneys recover.
  2. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) in which there is irreversible kidney injury. CKD invariably progresses slowly to end stage kidney disease (ESKD) over months or years because the cause cannot be eradicated.
  1. Diabetes
  2. High blood pressure
  3. Chronic glomerulonephritis
  4. Kidney stones
  5. Urinary infections
  6. Long term intake of pain killers /alternative medicines containing heavy metals.
  7. Hereditary (polycystic kidney disease, Alport syndrome etc.)
  8. Unknown. In about 20% of the cases the cause of CKD is unknown
  1. Swelling of the parts of the body
  2. High blood pressure
  3. Increasing weakness and easy fatigability
  4. Bone pains / body ache
  5. Change in frequency and amount of urination
  6. Frothy and bloody urine
  1. Presence of symptoms and signs described above
  2. Abnormalities in urine examination for a long time (e.g. protein loss in urine)
  3. Persistently elevated and increasing level of creatinine in the blood.
  4. Shrinkage in size of kidneys on ultrasound
  1. Treat underlying cause (e.g. diabetes)
  2. Control BP
  3. Diet modification
  4. Correct chemical abnormalities
  5. Correct anemia (low count of RBC) with EPO
  6. Provide active vitamin D
  7. Avoid acute insults (pain killer medicines, alternative therapy)
  8. Unfortunately, because the cause (e.g. diabetes) of CKD cannot be eradicated it progresses to complete loss of kidney function – a stage called end stage kidney disease.

There are only 2 treatment options:

  1. Dialysis (hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis)
  2. Kidney transplant.

Kidney transplant is a far better option and must be the first choice if possible. Because, the treatment of ESKD is very expensive and available only in urban areas, barely 10% of patients developing ESKD in our country are fortunate to get treatment. Therefore, for a country like ours, efforts should be to prevent kidney disease.

  1. Have natural foods like cereals, vegetables and fruits
  2. Avoid fried and processed food
  3. Exercise regularly
  4. Avoid getting overweight and obese
  5. Control blood sugars
  6. Control blood pressure
  7. Promptly treat kidney infections
  8. Do not ignore kidney stones even if they do not cause any pain
  9. Avoid taking pain killer medicines called NSAIDS
  10. Avoid alternative therapy. Remember, alternative therapies can make your kidneys worsen faster.

Besides the fact that it allows a person to lead healthy life, it gives an opportunity to donate kidneys and other organs & tissues after death and thereby saving many lives and enhancing quality of life of many people.