Sunday, March 23, 2014

Kidney Disease - A Silent Killer!!

During the trip to hospital yesterday for my monthly check up, I came across a mini exhibition on kidney disease, and I thought it's good to share...Kidney disease is indeed a silent killer; usually a patient would only know that he/she has this disease at a very late stage. By the time the patient discovers about the disease, it would be most probable already at Stage 4 or 5. Stage 5 would require the patient to undergo dialysis. 

As what we have learned in science class, kidneys have many important functions that ensure the overall health of a human being. Both kidneys work non-stop to remove harmful wastes and excessive fluids. Kidneys also help to regulate the blood pressure and red blood cell production, beside maintaining the body's internal overall environment.

Now, imagine if the kidneys stop working? Waste would be built-up in and eventually become toxic that is dangerous to the body. Consult the doctor as soon as possible if you experience any of the signs or symptoms of kidney disease. Some of the symptoms are: Blood in urine, frequent urination at night, high blood pressure, foamy urine, swollen limbs, fatigue, nausea and itchiness.

BUT.....signs and symptoms usually only occur at later stage of kidney disease which is why screening tests are vital, especially if you are in high-risk group.

In Malaysia, the main causes of kidney failure is Diabetes Mellitus and High Blood Pressure. Yet, there are significant number where the main cause is undetermined. Sometimes, you may just born with weak kidneys...we never know!!!

As far as I know, there are no treatments that able to reverse the kidney functions i.e. treatments can only maintain the current state but would not re-install the kidneys to become 100% healthy kidneys again (please correct me if I'm wrong). Thus treatments for kidney failure are actually only helping to keep the kidneys functioning as long as possible, but once the treatment stops then the kidneys would deteriorate too...

One of the commonest treatment for kidney failure is Haemodialysis. Haemodialysis is required when the kidneys stop functioning entirely. The treatment involves a filtering process to remove water and harmful wastes. Patients would need to spend 4 hour for each treatment session, 3 times a week.

Another treatment for kidney failure is Peritoneal Dialysis. This treatment involves using the peritoneal membrane inside the body as a filter to remove wastes and excess fluids from the body. This is a self-treatment thus allows more freedom and flexibility. However patients have to be careful and ensure cleanliness during the treatment otherwise would prone to infection.

Another treatment is Kidney Transplantation. This treatment is a surgical procedure to implant a healthy kidney into a patient with kidney failure. With this treatment, the patient can lead a better quality of life and no dialysis is required. The disadvantage is the transplantation is a major surgery and patients must also take anti-rejection medications.

Instead of going through the treatments and all that, it's always best to totally prevent the kidney disease from attacking us. In preventing kidney disease, all the advice about healthy lifestyle would apply, including exercise regularly, balanced diet, minimum 8 glassed of water daily, no smoking and minimum alcohol. In fact, kidney disease patients should always watch out the sodium intake and avoid unnecessary medications. 

Prevention is indeed better than cure, not limited to kidney disease, but applied to any kind of disease. Always lead a healthy lifestyle and don't forget to do medical checkups at least once in every year or every two years. Happy healthy you ^_^

1 comment:

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