How To Spot The Symptoms Of Kidney Disease

The kidneys have a very important and busy role when it comes to their functions in the overall working of the human body. These organs are charged with filtering out toxins that exist in your bloodstream and depositing those toxins into the bladder. The bladder empties the urine and so that residue leaves your body in a safe and expedient manner. The problem arises when the kidneys are unable to properly filter the waste components of your bloodstream and thus begin what we commonly know as kidney failure. In addition to that, they kidneys are also able to regulate the PH of plasma in the blood just like the lungs are constantly doing, but in some instances when the lungs are suffering and exchanging gases improperly, they kidneys pick up the slack and compensate through a slower, but more efficient process, and help the body reach the optimal acidity levels it should have.

Being such a busy organ, the kidneys may start to fail for many different reasons such as exposure to toxic environmental pollutants, severe dehydration, local trauma and certain types of acute and chronic diseases that may affect the normal functions. In some cases, people who suffer a heart attack, heart disease, a severe burn, a major infection or a severe allergic reaction have a high propensity to suffer from kidney failure because all of the former conditions may affect the amount of blood that flows to the kidneys.

Another factor that may cause renal problems is the inability of the kidneys to properly eliminate urine. This can happen due to obstructions in the urinary tract caused by kidney stones, some forms of cancer and in male patients mostly, enlarged prostate due to inflammation. When the kidneys are unable to send toxins to the bladder, they overload and begin damaging the organs.

The signs and symptoms of kidney failure are many and sometimes they are not even present in the earlier stages of the condition because the organs own resilience makes it difficult to detect before the situation is quite advanced. However, paying attention to these symptoms and getting tested can make a big difference in your own fight against the disease. Getting a urinalysis and a blood test is the best way to accurately predict if you, in fact, are prone or currently suffering from kidney disease that may eventually become kidney failure.

unidentified-structures-in-urine_urinalysis

Image courtesy of Ed Uthman at Flickr.com

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of kidney disease. When your kidneys are healthy, they secrete a hormone called erythropoietin that regulates the production of red blood cells. When your kidneys are failing, the creation of this hormone is affected, thus making your blood’s oxygen level drop, something that causes fatigue and shortness of breath. Feeling like that can cause difficulty sleeping and a feeling like you are drowning when you can’t breathe.

The aforementioned anemia can also leave the brain oxygen-starved, something that causes dizziness, weakness and even the possibility of fainting. Something else that comes along is the difficulty to think clearly. This leads to memory problems and trouble with concentration. Patients often report that they forget the simplest task of having difficulty solving simply problems and concentrating on their reading.

Another common symptom is that of feeling extremely cold even when the room is warm. This is another side effect of the anemia caused by kidney failure.

Patients sometimes report itching all over the body. This happens because of the buildup of excess waste material in the bloodstream. Toxic waste in the blood causes severe itching all over the body, something that can become a real problem if the patient scratches constantly and breaks the skin.

Swelling in the hands, feet or even the face are not uncommon symptoms of kidney failure. This happens because they kidneys are not eliminating enough fluid out of the body and that remaining fluid can cause your joints and extremities to swell to the point of impairing mobility and causing a lot of pain and fatigue.

When your body is retaining waste that should have been eliminated, you may experience of a condition called uremia. Uremia may cause food to taste differently and cause bad breath with the smell of ammonia. Patients often say their food tastes like metal and stop eating meat altogether because they can’t stand the taste of it. This may cause a rapid and unhealthy weight loss. Uremia can also cause upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting.

Finally, one of the most important symptoms to consider and that sometimes gets ignored is the increased urge to urinate. People often don’t pay attention to these symptoms because they are commonly associated with other issues. Patients with kidney failure may notice they urinate more often than usual and with a strange pale color in their urine that is foamier than usual.How To Spot The Symptoms Of Kidney Disease

For more great information about dialysis, renal compensation and kidney disease in general, check out our other articles available in Joe Cosgrove’s Blog today.

Advertisements

Meet the future of dialysis!

For many years, the healthcare industry has doubled its efforts to offer better treatments to patients with an end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Joe Cosgrove knows that this hard work has helped millions of patients who probably wouldn’t have survived if it wasn’t because they had the chance to receive dialysis treatment. Most patients who had a kidney transplant which is being rejected by their bodies couldn’t find a kidney donor are very likely to go on dialysis for a long time.

The entire dialysis process involves filtering the patient’s blood in a machine (dialyzer) that is supposed to perform the kidney’s major functions. A dialyzer removes waste and excess of fluids from the blood and afterward returns the cleansed blood back to the body. This way some mineral chemical levels are kept stable and the patient’s body is able to function normally.

nxstage_dialysis

Image courtesy of Helse Midt-Norge at Flickr.com

Why are dialysis innovations important?

Without the dialyzer intervention, it would be very complicated for patients with ESRD to survive. Nowadays, the market for dialysis devices reaches billions of individuals worldwide and it is expected to grow dramatically in the next 5 years due to the increase in the number of patients with diabetes and hypertension. Patients who need dialysis in the United States often are young adults or children who have certain responsibilities such as going to school or work. For this reason, the current dialysis methods don’t meet their needs.

The healthcare industry knows how important it is to work hard to improve the current dialysis methods in order to provide a better future for the growing number of patients worldwide. Developing more effective and portable dialysis devices would allow some patients to stay away from renal transplants and its associated complications. Also, for patients that are currently on dialysis, improving the existing systems will help them reducing the chances of having anemia, low blood pressure or infections associated with dialysis.

It is important to notice that today most dialysis patients prefer to go under a hemodialysis procedure instead of using the peritoneal one. However, both procedures should evolve in the future and offer patients the chance of using portable units or go under faster filtering processes. There are some advantages and disadvantages related to any of the dialysis methods. Nevertheless, improving the way they operate is supposed to have a positive impact on the life of the billions of people who depend on dialysis to survive.

Related: New dialysis technology designed to be more user-friendly for patients, staff.

b-braun-smart-pumps_dialysis

Image courtesy of Tim Gee at Flickr.com

Leaders in the dialysis industry

There are some companies such as Fresenius, Outset Medical, Baxter, and NxStage who control the dialysis device industry and are working hard to keep their leadership position. These companies are constantly launching new products and expanding their business in a way they can serve emerging markets and the growing number of patients in both developing and most developed countries.

The diversification in economic conditions and technological developments have allowed different companies to increase awareness towards dialysis, forcing manufacturers to invest in research and innovative therapies for patients with ESRD. Some of the most important changes which are defining the future of dialysis are listed below.

Outset Medical: During the Kidney Week, Outset Medical introduced the Tablo in the U.S. market. This device is a dialysis machine built from scratch which is supposed to operate exclusively in dialysis clinics, offering them the chance of using a simple system. The Tablo is supposed to be ready for sale in spring. The company is also working to develop a self-care unit for home dialysis applications.

NxStage: This company aims to work for the future of peritoneal dialysis, improving their groundbreaking System One home hemodialysis machine. The company’s CEO seems to be very confident about the progress they are making around home hemodialysis systems, eliminating the need of using bags of fluid during the peritoneal dialysis process. This system is also expected to be launched this year.

Baxter Health Care: With their Amia PD cycler, Baxter aims to change the way peritoneal dialysis is performed. Through the usage of Amia, the company offers patients a device which is easier to use, is light-weighted and offers State-of-the-art technology so caregivers can be connected to patients by using a system that looks a lot like a GPS.

Fresenius Medical Care: This is probably one of the companies which offer the most futuristic alternatives for the dialysis treatments. By researching and developing materials to improve the sorbent qualities of devices, Fresenius has developed a new home hemodialysis machine in collaboration with the Swiss engineering firm Debiotech SA. This way, Fresenius has been able to offer patients a new product platform with dialysis machines that are compact, easy to use at home and lightweight.

In conclusion, dialysis patients are a number one priority for healthcare companies dedicated to developing dialysis systems. This will allow caregivers to be connected to their patients while they are empowered to use more sophisticated, effective and portable dialysis devices.

What You Diet On Dialysis Should Look Like

Dialysis is a process in which blood or other fluids in the body are externally cleaned before returned to the body with the purpose of helping the kidneys in the removal of excess toxins. Eating correctly is probably one of the best things a patient can do to help their dialysis treatment, especially those that do not have daily sessions with the machine, so they should be much more careful with what they eat. Patients with kidney failure must carefully monitor their intake of phosphorus, potassium, sodium and fluid levels in general. While a proper diet should be discussed with your nutritionist and your doctor in order to identify your specific needs, there are some general guidelines of foods that contain high amount of this nutrients and how you should behave when it comes to their consumption.

dairy-food_renal-compemsation_dialisys

Image courtesy of sushiesque at Flickr.com

Dairy Products

Dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese have a high content of potassium and phosphorus, substances that should be limited to patients with kidney failure. Excess potassium is known to be the source of muscle and heart problems while high quantities of phosphorous can lead to weakness of the bones. Another general issue with dairy products is that they are usually high on fat, something that can bring its own set of complications like heart disease and other serious health risks. While no food is absolutely banned while on dialysis, patients should limit their dairy intake or ask their doctors which types of dairy is not as harmful like unfortified rice milk, non dairy whipped cream, cottage cheese and other types of soft cheese that have a lower content of phosphorous when compared with their harder counterparts.

Canned Foods

When the kidneys aren’t working properly the body doesn’t eliminate sodium they way it should so the excess stays in the body and causes it to retain fluids more than it should. Canned foods are usually high on sodium content; something that can greatly affect they already reduced kidney functions in the patient. Canned foods exist because they are practical and can conserve food for longer periods of time without perishing, but are nothing more than a substitute to fresh food that you can prepare at home without having to put your health at risk. Opt for healthier alternatives and avoid canned foods as much as as you can.

Whole Grain

Whole grain products like whole wheat bread, brown rice or bran cereal are usually known for being healthier and giving the body more fiber, something that can aid in the digestive process. However, when it comes to patients in dialysis they can become problematic due to their high content of phosphorous. The problem with high levels of phosphorous in the absence of healthy kidneys is that creates an imbalance with calcium contents, so they body must extract calcium from the bones, thus weakening them.

Nuts

Most nuts and seeds like peanuts, dried peas, beans and lentils are high on phosphorous and potassium, and therefore patients undergoing dialysis treatment should avoid them. While their protein content is considerable, they should be limited nonetheless or at least discussed with your dietitian if you consume these foods regularly.

Fruits

When it comes to fruits, they are mostly healthy and people may be surprised to realize that some of them should be avoided. Examples of fruits to avoid include kiwi, bananas, and avocados because they contain high amounts of potassium. Consumption of dried fruits like raisins and dehydrated berries should also be done in moderate amounts.

fruit_what-you-diet-on-dialysis

Image courtesy of Marcia O’Connor at Flickr.com

Which foods should you eat?

Red bell peppers are low in potassium and full of flavor. They are high on vitamin A, C, B6, fiber and folic acid. Bell peppers can be eaten in many ways, something that makes them a great food to help you keep a more diverse diet. Eating them raw is great with a dip and you can also roast them to add to sandwiches, salads or omelets. They are also great and easy to prepare on the grill when added to kabobs.

Cabbages are also a great addition to your diet that offers many options to prepare. They can be eaten raw in coleslaw or added as a tasty topping for fish tacos. Cabbages are high in vitamin K, vitamin C and fiber, while also a good source of vitamin B6 and folic acid. Low in potassium and inexpensive, they are an affordable addition to your kidney diet.

Egg whites and fish are both great sources of protein that contain less phosphorus than most of other animal protein. They are easy to prepare and allow you to use them in many recipes so you can vary your diet and not get bored from always eating the same things.

Apples are great fruits to eat because they contain no sodium and low quantities of phosphorous. Apples can be mixed with salty foods or also eaten as a healthy dessert mixed with cottage cheese or simply raw.

For more great articles, check out our publications at Joe Cosgrove Health Blog today.