Steps to protect your kidney health

Kidney disease is a severe public health issue which is often ignored by most of us. It is estimated that 1 in 10 people are suffering from chronic kidney disease in India. The main reason is lack of awareness about Chronic Kidney Disease. It is a silent killer that is asymptomatic at the initial stage and is detected at advanced stage when dialysis or transplant is the only solution. Since awareness is the key to preventing such fatal consequences check out these 5 steps to guard your kidneys against this silent epidemic.

Step 1: Important Facts

The bean-shaped organ in our body performs multiple functions to maintain homeostasis in the body. It does multiple functions other than just removing wastes from the body that we often overlook. Some of the vital functions are enlisted below-

  • Regulates fluid levels in the body
  • Releases hormone that regulates blood pressure.
  • Releases hormone that promotes production of red blood cells.
  • Helps in maintaining strong bones by activating vitamin D
  • Keeps a healthy balance of important minerals (sodium, potassium, phosphorus).

Do you know when the kidney functions are impaired you can be at risk of several diseases like kidney failure often termed as End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), Cardiovascular diseases, stroke, neuropathy, anaemia, weak bones and many similar complications that can put your life at risk. Recent studies state that malfunctioning kidneys can cause sleepless nights, hair loss and even memory loss.

Step 2: Evaluate your risk quotient

Are you aware that certain conditions can increase your chances of acquiring kidney disease? Amongst all diabetes and hypertension are the leading causes of kidney disease. Obesity and cardiovascular diseases are not far behind in the queue. If you run a family history of kidney failure, hypertension and diabetes even then you are at risk. Additional risk factors include-

  • individuals at or above 60 years of age
  • low birth weight
  • prolonged usage of OTC (Over-the-counter) drugs like painkillers
  • kidney stones
  • autoimmune disorders
  • chronic UTI.

After assessing your risk, the first and foremost step is to shift to a healthy lifestyle that would prevent unnecessary load on your kidneys.

Step 3: Recognize the symptoms

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a silent killer and affects the kidney beans silently without any visible symptoms till 70% of the kidney functions are already impaired. Hence, initially people are asymptomatic which can be misleading. Pay heed to these trouble signs-

  1. Fatigue and weakness
  2. Painful urination
  3. Foamy urine
  4. Pink and dark colored urine
  5. Increased thirst
  6. Increased urination especially at night
  7. Puffy eyes and swollen face
  8. Fluid retention that causes ankles, abdomen and feet to swell.
Step 4: Get tested

If you think that you fall in the risk group or you have any of the symptoms do not delay and get tested immediately. I recommended individuals above 30 years of age to check their kidney functions once every year. Elderly people above 55 years of age or with comorbidities like hypertension and diabetes should check their kidney functions every 6 months.

GFR- Glomerular Filtration Rate measures how efficiently the kidneys are filtering the blood. Serum creatinine levels are measured and GFR is calculated.

If your number is above 90 then there is nothing to worry, anything between 60-90 means kidney functionality should be monitored and numbers below 60 for 3 consecutive months indicate kidney disease. In my awareness programs I always promote an idea that every birthday before cutting your birthday cake, get your health checked and do not miss on your GFR score so that you can celebrate your health.

Step 5: Stay healthy

There are certain vital things that everyone should know and do which includes

  • knowing your family history well
  • following a balanced diet
  • staying hydrated
  • maintaining daily physical activity
  • Keeping a watch on your body weight
  • Avoid any addictions or substance abuse
  • Limit and avoid OTC drugs unnecessarily
  • Avoid excessive protein consumption
  • Reduce your salt intake

If you have any comorbidities like blood sugar or hypertension or both it is important to monitor that regularly and maintain it within the limits. Do not skip your medicines. Get your annual flu shots as well.

Published by Dr.Pratim Sengupta

Dr. Pratim Sengupta thinks of himself as conscious, living, soulful being with an inner urge to break the inertia of life. He feels that life is nothing but a material expression of the Supreme Almighty Consciousness. His conscious existence empowered him to see, to hear, to talk, to interact, to feel, to dream, to ask questions, and to seek solutions to every problem. In the flow of life, as he grew up, he understood that knowledge of life is the only way to understand the scientific basis of conscious existence. Hence Dr. Sengupta felt the urge to study the science of life – i.e. Medicine. After he completed his higher secondary education from the Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandira in Belurmath, he joined the MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery) course at RG Kar Medical College, Kolkata. The professional packaging of knowledge in terms of a time-bound, goal-oriented syllabus frustrated him a bit, but nevertheless ignited the urge within him to study further. He thus went on to his post-graduation (MD) in Medicine from IPGMER and SSKM Hospital, Kolkata. During his MD training, he got a glimpse of the vastness of knowledge, and the quest to learn precisely the facts of life narrowed down his area of interest to the functioning of the kidneys and the specialisation of Nephrology – a discipline that is complex, yet relatively new and still evolving in terms of complete understanding of renal physiology and pathology. So, Dr. Sengupta decided to study and train for the DM (Doctorate of Medicine) degree in Nephrology. Right from the start of his career, Dr. Sengupta was passionate about Research. During the MD programme he worked on Cirrhotic Cardiomyopathy, Autonomic Neuropathy of Lupus, and Insulin resistance in Diabetics. All these research studies were published in national journals. During his postdoctoral study in Nephrology, he worked on Hemodialysis efficiency, and suggested an angular placement of the Dialyser in order to increase efficiency. This innovative concept was accepted for presentation at the World Congress of Nephrology, Milan, in 2009, and also published in Hemodialysis International. Dr. Sengupta also worked on Plasmapheresis – a blood filtering technique by which toxic and pathogenic immunoglobulins can be removed from the body. He studied the role of Prethymectomy Plasmapheresis in Myasthenia Gravis patients, and his findings were published in the journal Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery. The patient-empowered nutritional model for nutritional care of kidney patients is another interesting and innovative area in which Dr. Sengupta has worked for quite a long time. Dr.Pratim Sengupta won the Bharat Jyoti award for his excellency in the field of medicine. He is also the president of our non-governmental organization, The Kidney Care Society. His tireless contribution to provide quality living for his patients is worth mentioning. He introduced Mukti, blending ancient Indian yoga with modern medicine for well being of every patient. He has also introduced an unique online course "Art of Living with diabetes" which is a complete solution to diabetes management. He has authored many books, blogs, for the patients. Searching and researching for solutions to problems in the field of Nephrology remains the passion and dream of Dr. Pratim Sengupta, and he intends to persist on this journey as long as he is conscious. Meanwhile, even as he pursues his dreams, Dr. Sengupta diligently puts into practice all he has learned about Nephrology over the years, at the Belle Vue Clinic in Kolkata and ILS hospital,Dumdum where he is available for his patient

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