UNDERLYING CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE CAN STRIKE YOU AT ANY TIME IN LIFE
• The share of adults 30 and older who have CKD is projected to rise 5% over the next 5 years
• High blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of kidney disease are the major causes of CKD.
• Early detection is key. Those with major risk factors should be screened annually for the disease.
Bangalore : Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a progressive loss in kidney function over a period of months or years. While severity can vary, CKD is treatable but causes the patient to need lifelong care. If the damage is very bad, your kidneys may stop working. This is called kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease (ESRD). If the kidneys fail, the person will need dialysis or a kidney transplant in order to live. This World Kidney Day, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital aims at raising awareness about kidney health and reducing the frequency of kidney disease.
Talking about CKD, Dr Anil Kumar BT, Senior Consultant, Nephrologist and Transplant Physician, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital, Bengaluru, said “CKD is a very serious condition. It is on the rise and we cannot do enough to raise awareness. It is a silent killer, because most patients don’t notice the symptoms until the disease has done severe damage. Therefore, early detection is crucial. If people have a history of diabetes or high blood pressure, it is a must to get tested for kidney disease once a year. All that is needed is a urine analysis and blood test. Early diagnosis can lead to preservation of function. Unfortunately, more than half of CKD cases are diagnosed only at the end stage, when the only option is kidney transplant or dialysis, which can be very taxing on the patient’s physical, psychological and economic condition.”
It is important to note that CKD can strike at any age. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes, and now that those problems are on the rise, so is CKD. SEEK (Screening and Early Evaluation of Kidney Disease), a US-India initiative to track CKD in India, estimates that 17.2% India’s population has CKD.
This is apparent when we listen to the experiences of two kidney transplant patients in their early 30s. In August 2017, Rekha (name changed), a 31 year old, developed frequent fevers and was eventually diagnosed with severe kidney failure. Coming from an underprivileged family, she had managed to complete her education and was a MCA graduate. She had just received a job offer, when this diagnosis came as a shock to her. She was not mentally prepared to begin treatment and hence avoided dialysis initially. Unfortunately, she became very weak and had to undergo an emergency dialysis. This was followed by 7-8 hospital admissions in the span of 1.5 years. She developed various complications like a lung infection, fluids in the pleural cavity, tuberculosis, ulcers in the stomach and even rheumatoid arthritis. When she approached doctors at BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals, she was severely sick. The only option was to undergo kidney transplantation. Her mother, aged 65, came forward to donate her kidney and hence, a living donor transplantation was carried out in October 2018. Few months later, Rekha is doing well and is back to work.
A second case of CKD details the struggle of a young man, Rupesh (name changed), aged 30. Rupesh started showing symptoms like fever, chills, loss of appetite, weakness, nausea and anaemia in early 2010. He was not aware at the time that these symptoms were indicative of a serious condition. Nevertheless, he consulted with a few doctors locally, who advised a few blood tests, an endoscopy of the stomach and ultra sound of the abdomen. These reports detected that his kidneys had shrunk and that his creatinine level was very high at 16.9. In this case, the patient had a congenital condition known as Vesico-ureteric reflux (VUR), is a condition in which urine flows retrograde or backward, from the bladder into the ureters/kidneys. The progression of this condition is slow and hence symptoms started appearing only in his early 20s, when his kidneys had already started to fail. Having diagnosed him, doctors then put him on dialysis treatment weekly twice. Due to economic hassles, Rupesh was able to undergo dialysis only once a week, which he did for the next 3 years until late 2013. He was able to secure some financial help and went on to undergo dialysis twice a week until December of 2017. It is then that he approached doctors at BGS Gleneagles Global Hospitals. By then, he had undergone dialysis treatment for 7 full years. It had made him weak in his bones and muscles. He was unable to move freely and simple activities like walking and sitting was difficult to perform. Over the years his body weight had decreased from 42 kg to 32 kg. Considering the severity of his condition, waiting for a cadaver transplant would have been risky. Hence, they advised him to go in for a living donor transplant. His mother, aged 68, was a perfect fit and she came forth to donate her kidney. Though, the age of the donor poses a challenge, the doctors were able to proceed with the transplant. There were additional risks due to VUR, as there is a likelihood of repeated UTIs in the future. Doctors had to remove the old kidneys out and then continue with the transplant. The transplant was successful and a few months later, Rupesh started gaining weight and is doing much better now.
Dr Narendra S, Senior Consultant, Urologist, BGS Gleneagles Global Hospital, Bengaluru added, ”CKD appears in varying severities. How long you can live with CKD depends on your age, other health problems, and how involved you become in your care. Most people with early CKD will never have kidney failure. Others will reach kidney failure and may live for decades with dialysis or kidney transplants. There are major advances in today’s healthcare. We have better drugs, know more about how to slow down kidney failure, have updated dialysis machines and are also able to perform kidney transplants under trying conditions.”
Living and adopting a healthier lifestyle is your best chance at avoiding conditions like diabetes, hypertension and kidney disease. Particularly important, if you are already a diabetic or suffer from high blood pressure. Follow a low-salt, low-fat diet, engage in regular exercise, atleast some physical activity for 30 minutes on most days of the week, avoid tobacco and alcohol and undergo regular check-ups with your doctor.
Ms Shailaja Suresh, CEO, Gleneagles Global Hospitals, Bengaluru added,” If CKD is detected early and managed appropriately, the deterioration in kidney function can be slowed or even stopped, and the risk of associated cardiovascular complications can be reduced. We urge youngsters to pay attention to their bodies and seek medical help when they notice any symptoms. Especially in urban cities like Bangalore, we see young people overworking themselves, eating unhealthy and leading sedentary lifestyles. The rise in serious illnesses amongst this age group is disheartening but can be fixed if they take note now and work towards a healthier lifestyle”