World Kidney Day 2019: Myths & Facts about Kidney disease

Myth: All kidney diseases are incurable

Fact: Most kidney diseases are curable with timely treatment.  Some kidney diseases are irreversible and progressive (progress towards end-stage renal failure), but this progression can be slowed down if the disease is detected and treated early and appropriately.

Myth: I am all right, so I don’t think I have a kidney problem

Fact: Most of the patients show no symptoms in the early stages of Chronic Kidney Disease. Abnormal values in laboratory tests are mostly the only clue. Individuals with high-risk factors should, therefore, get an annual check-up done. About one-quarter of the patient, meet a doctor only when dialysis requiring stage is reached.

Myth: I pass a lot of urine, so my kidneys are fine.

Fact: Some kidney disease cause decreased urine output (< 400 ml urine/day). In most cases of kidney disease, however, urine output > 3000 ml/day. Even with normal or large urine production, waste material like acids, potassium, urea, creatinine and many more may not be excreted. A person may then require treatment – dialysis may be required in some cases.

Myth: Drinking more water will keep my kidneys healthy. This is the treatment for kidney diseases.

Fact: Usual water intake is well managed by thirst in healthy people. Drinking 2-3 liters of fluid may avoid some stone formations and urinary tract infections. Continuing to drink fluids when kidneys are failing or have failed may cause fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) or poor control of hypertension. The consequences may be deadly. Follow your doctors’ advice.

Myth: I feel fine, so I don’t need to continue with treatment

Fact: Many patients with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) feel very well with proper therapy, and so they may discontinue medications/treatment. Discontinuation of therapy in CKD can be dangerous., as it can lead to rapid worsening of kidney function leading to an earlier requirement for initiation of dialysis/kidney transplantation.

 Myth: Dialysis once started is required life long

Fact: Acute kidney failure is usually reversible (with proper treatment) & dialysis is required for a short period until kidney recovers. Delay in dialysis because of fear of permanent dialysis can be life-threatening. In End Stage Renal failure, lifelong dialysis is required, if the patient does not opt for transplant.

 Myth: Kidney Transplant cannot happen before dialysis

Pre-emptive transplantation refers to kidney transplantation before a patient needs to start dialysis therapy. Patients who get a pre-emptive transplant receive their kidney when their health is generally good, which can improve new kidney function and enhance overall health and life expectancy.

Brig. (Dr.) Anuj Rajvanshi (Retd.) | Sr. Consultant – Nephrology | Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Jaipur

 

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