Peritoneal Dialysis

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Toni B

Peritoneal Dialysis

I just do not get the concept of peritoneal dialysis. My doctor suggested it, but what is it and how does it really work? 

Peritoneal dialysis is a fluid based treatment, verses hemo-dialysis a blood based treatment. Peritoneal dialysis, also called PD, introduces fluid consisting of water, dextros, and calcium into the peritoneum lining in the abdomen, which uses a process of osmosis (from a greater concentration to a lower concentration) to remove the excess water and waste from the body in absence of functioning kidneys.

There are several benefits and caveats regarding PD: the first benefit is the ability to administer the treatment at home without a care partner, with the flexibility to conduct the treatment on your schedule.

One caveat is treatment is completely daily, no “breaks” in the schedule as in the traditional three times per week schedule of hemo-dialysis. However, PD mimics functioning kidneys because healthy kidneys function 24-hours/7days per week.

There are many more benefits health and lifestyle benefits. Check with your health care provider for the type of dialysis treatment that is best for you and your health and lifestyle needs.



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Healthy Kidney Diet

This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series Renal Diet

Healthy Kidney Diet

Healthy_Kidney_DietWhy you need a Healthy Kidney Diet and the things of concern in a Renal Diet.

There are many causes of kidney disease and when your kidneys are not working well, waste materials and fluid builds up in your body. When left as it is, the waste and extra fluid lead to bone, heart, and other health problems. When you are in this condition it is a must that you opt for a renal diet. A good kidney-friendly meal plan limits the quantity of certain minerals and fluid you consume on a daily basis. This healthy kidney diet is necessary to help keep the waste and fluid from accumulating and causing problems in your body.

Before deciding on the meal plan you should find out the causes of kidney disease and the healthy kidney diet you select must depend on your stage of kidney disease. In the early stages of your kidney disease, you may not go for the real renal diet and have little or no limits on what you eat and drink. But when you find that your kidney disease is getting worse your doctor has to recommend you to limit the intake of the following in your diet you are taking daily:

  •   Potassium
  •  Phosphorus
  •  Fluids


Potassium is a mineral that is available in almost all foods. Potassium is needed for making your muscles work but it must be noted that the intake of potassium must be limited. When you take too much potassium it is dangerous. When your kidneys are not working well, your potassium level may be too high or too low. So, while deciding on the intake of potassium in your renal diet take into consideration that too much or too little potassium can cause irregular heartbeat, muscle cramps, and muscle weakness. But generally the doctor will advise you to limit the amount of potassium you are taking and it is always better to take the advice of a dietician to know the foods that can be taken in your daily diet based on what causes kidney failure in your case.

When you are advised to take low potassium foods you can add more of Apples, Cranberries, Grapes, Pineapples and Strawberries Cauliflower, Onions, Peppers, Radishes, summer and Zucchini Squash, Lettuce, Pita, Tortillas And White Breads Bran Products And Granola Beef And Chicken, White Rice Etc.

At the same time if your dietician prescribes a high potassium diet then you can add more of Avocados, Bananas, Melons, Oranges, Prunes And Raisins, Artichokes, Kale, Plantains, Spinach, Potatoes And Tomatoes, Beans (Baked, Black, Pinto, Etc.), Brown Or Wild Rice etc.


is one of the most essential minerals needed by the body and in the studies conducted to find out what causes kidney failure the importance of keeping this at correct levels in any healthy kidney diet   is stressed. When your kidneys are not healthy, they cannot maintain the balance of phosphorus in the body and hence you have to limit the amount of phosphorus in your diet and depending on the stage of the kidney disease you may be given a phosphorus binder to keep the level of it in your blood within the right levels. To maintain the right phosphorus levels add more of Italian, French or sourdough bread, Corn or rice cereals and cream of wheat, Unsalted popcorn, light-colored sodas and lemonade etc



When your doctor has ascertained the real causes of kidney disease, he would have advised you to take little fluids and you must avoid drinking too much fluids as this gets accumulated in your body. This may lead to dangerous problems and hence you have to reduce the amount of water you take in.

When you are wondering about what causes kidney failure, you must understand the diet you are taking plays a major role and hence you have to be very careful in taking only a very good healthy kidney diet to help your kidneys function well for a long time.


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Kidney Food

This entry is part 3 of 10 in the series Renal Diet

Kidney Food

Kidney Food and effectsWhat is Kidney Food? How often do we think about the effect a cheeseburger has on our kidneys?

Usually, we are captured by the thought of biting into this delight; dreaming of a juicy sirloin burger dripping down our chin.

The thought-the absolute excitement of this craving is so powerful that calculating the damage to an already distressed kidney is the last thing on a kidney patient’s mind.

And sure, once in a while everything in the food court is an option, but kicking the fast food habit is, to many, like quitting smoking. And the companies advertising 99 cent meals know that once we are in sight, once the craving begins, we are pliable consumers for them. Fat, sodium, carbs.

Human Beings love this stuff, but to many kidney patients this is not kidney food. In fact, this type of food can be deadly. Let’s look at some of it.

Potatoes Tomatoes Spinach

Ultra high in potassium, potatoes are off the list for many kidney patients. I know they taste good, especially grilled hash browns–the kind you get at a diner, but impaired kidneys cannot handle added potassium and potatoes are loaded with potassium. The same holds true for tomatoes, including tomato sauce. There goes spaghetti for dinner. And remember when you mom told you to eat your spinach? Well, if you are in kidney trouble, then you’d better ask your dietician about these items.


Potassium is a mineral and one of it’s main functions is nerve control. When my son was in kidney failure, his hands shook constantly and eliminating potassium as much as possible was one of my missions. I knew we were giving up other essential vitamins, but keeping the heart beating on a regular basis was priority one. Potassium does this and since excess amounts could not be eliminated through urine, we just cut it out of the diet as much as we could. Other foods high in potassium include the delicious avocado. When we moved into our home, we noticed the neighbor in the adjoining back lot had an avocado tree which may someday grow over the wall, into our yard and into our hearts. A fabulous fat to eat, kidney patients will likely avoid the splendor of avocados. They will also give up dairy, which includes ice cream and milk. Bummer, I know!


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Phosphorus and Kidney Disease

This entry is part 8 of 10 in the series Renal Diet

Phosphorous and Kidney Disease

Phosphorus and Kidney DiseaseWhat’s The Problem with Phosphorus and Kidney Disease?

If you are on Dialysis or fighting to stave off Kidney Disease, your dietician has probably outlined a diet and directed you to stay away from certain foods containing too much phosphorous.

What is Phosphorous?

Phosphorous is a chemical element with the symbol P and if you watch Breaking Bad, you will notice the Atomic Number 15 floating around, which identifies Phosphorous. It is also a critical component of life, found in DNA. In the form of phospholipids, it is found in the membranes of cells. We need it to thrive. Bones, teeth-Phosphorous Rocks, but too much is not good!

Quick and Interesting History of Phosphorous

In the mid 1600’s, A German Alchemist, Robert Boyle, in search of a way to turn everyday metals into gold, collected human urine. I’ll bet that was fun. Can you imagine selling your urine? I wonder if this evolved into the modern Blood Drive?

With the vats of human waste, Boyle went about extracting the dissolved phosphates, distilled the metabolized waste and even tried evaporation-often for days at a time. My God! This is a sure-fire way to keep the relatives from visiting!

All this was not in vain for the tireless Boyle. After playing with urine for extended periods of time, he finally figured out something useful to do with it and was the first to use Phosphorous on the tips of sticks, igniting and causing instant fire with the ancient discovery of what we now call matches. I hope it was worth it.

But what does this mean for your diet if you have Kidney Disease?

We need Phosphorous in our bodies, but evidenced by what is found in our urine, we also need to get rid of too much Phosphorous. Primarily found in our bones and teeth. An average adult consumes 1-3 grams of Phosphorous daily, replenishing the needs for strong teeth, bones and soft cell nourishment.

But what does this have to do with your kidneys?

One of the main kidney functions is to regulate both calcium and phosphorous in the body. These are the most common minerals found in the body and they work together, or at least they should co-exist.
Besides providing nourishment, Phosphorous has a big job of helping to regulate calcium levels in the body and we all know from those milk commercials that calcium is needed for strong bones.

A healthy body, with kidneys working properly will get rid of the excess phosphorous through urine. Too much phosphorous in the body will send a warning signal to the brain and calcium stored in the bones will go to work, increasing calcium, but depleting the bone’s supply. Trying to even the levels in this manner will cause a loss of calcium in the bones and this will result in brittle bones that break easily.


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Learn Kidney Donor Requirements

Learn Kidney Donor Requirements

When You Can’t Donate

learn kidney donor requirementsLearn Kidney Donor Requirements -they are not that tough. Although the number of patients getting added to the kidney recipient list is increasing every day, it doesn’t mean that all people who aspire to donate are readily accepted just to cut the list short. For the safety of both donor and recipient, strict health guidelines are still observed.

The following list contains some of the contraindications to renal donation:

Psychiatric problems

The capability of a person to adjust well after surgery both mentally and emotionally should be thoroughly assessed. Most of the time, the evaluation and orientation phases of donation are fast phased that donors are only able to digest everything after the operation. This makes remorse, regret, and even ambivalence very common experiences for donors. If these emotions are not handled correctly, it can pose health and safety risks.

Hypertension that requires medication

High blood pressure involves higher blood volume inside the body. Because there’s a high volume of fluid, your blood vessels compensate by working twice as hard. For the minute vessels in your renal tract, this isn’t good news as they are put at risk for damages.

Existing renal disease

One of the goals of renal transplant is to provide a patient with a healthier organ. Transplanting a sick kidney will only defeat this purpose.


With diabetes, blood generally becomes thicker and more viscous. This change in your blood’s consistency creates minute injuries to the small blood vessels in your body. Once injury happens to your renal tract, the organs become ineffective in filtering out unwanted elements. Because of this, transplanting an injured organ will not help the recipient get any better.

Heart Diseases

Because donors are generally considered to have an increased risk of developing heart problems in the long run, people who have existing cardiac diseases aren’t permitted to donate. Since donation leaves only one kidney in place, the decrease in renal function makes the heart work twice as hard to compensate. For people with existing heart diseases, this increase in workload can aggravate their health condition.


Obesity has been closely linked with minor surgical complications. Although rare, the chances for major complications are also possible. Aside from this, people who weigh more than they should are also at risk for several health issues after donation, particularly kidney and heart problems. Most of them even carry health issues prior to surgery.

Despite these ideas, however, there are transplant centers that do allow obese patients to donate. They generally conduct a close follow up, either by visiting donors or routinely calling them by phone, to determine any changes in their health. Typically, they follow up every one or two years. Some of these centers even implement a wellness program for these kidney donors.

Learn Kidney Donor Requirements and you will discover that it is very easy to save someone’s life.


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Kidney’s and Over the Counter Drugs

Kidney’s and Over the Counter Drugs

Over the Counter Drugs which patients with Kidney Disease Should Avoid

Kidney counter DrugsYour Kidney’s and Over the Counter Drugs are issues you should pay attention to.

These medications can be directly purchased by a consumer without having a prescription from a healthcare professional. If you have medical complications it is advisable to have a doctor’s advice before taking over the counter drugs. This is especially crucial if you are one of millions of patients who have renal failure and or kidney disease. Pain management medication or analgesics need to be taken with precautions in patients with decreased kidney functions. Let’s face it, the body is am amazing creation and along with the skin and the liver, the two kidneys are natural filters. You have to safeguard these organs.

Names of commonly used analgesics include aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, ketoprofen. These are taken to control pain, reduce fever and sometimes to help decrease inflammation. It has been shown that aspirin and acetaminophen have a link to kidney disease. Asprin or mixtures of paracetamol containing asprin should be avoided and especially doses higher than 300mg daily can worsen the function of damaged kidneys and patients with kidney function less than 50% should avoid , taking these very regularly in high doses and patients with 30% or less renal functions need to be very careful with over the counter drugs. It has been shown that heavy and long term use of these medications can lead to chronic kidney disease such as chronic interstitial nephritis . Also pain killers such as ibuprofen is not advised for patients following a kidney transplant as this can react badly with the anti –rejction medications. Medications taken for cough and cold with ephedrine has been noted to raise blood pressures. Most patients with kidney damage have hypertension and care needs to be taken on these cough medications.

Other types of medications taken for conditions such as gaviscon advance to relieve indigestion too is of concern as these products contain potassium, which is restricted in patients with renal disease. Other forms such as Aludrox or Maalox which contain aluminium or magnesium should be taken with care in patients who are on dialysis. Also oral rehydration given to patients suffering from diarrhoea must be administered with a lot of care and precautions as these formulations contain potassium and sodium and medical advice should be opted while taking it. Individuals with kidney damage doesn’t have a way to maintain the Potassium balance and the potassium level in the blood increases which can lead to cardiac failure and cause death. Also herbal medications have a tendency to increase blood pressure and should be used with care in kidney patients.

Therefore to conclude, patients with poor kidney function, undergoing dialysis or after a transplant need to take over the counter drugs with care and best taken with the advice of a doctor as there could be drug-drug interactions with the present concomitant therapies or it will aggravate the renal conditions. Also some medications can affect the absorption of other medications such as immunosuppressants used by transplant patients and those with immune disorders.


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What Causes Kidney Stones

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Dr Cocja

What Causes Kidney Stones


illustration of the kidney stones. urology, dialysis

illustration of the kidney stones. urology, dialysis

Kidney stones also called renal lithiasis are formed from a build-up of crystals made up of minerals and acid salts.  The majority of these stones are calcium salts namely calcium oxalate and calcium and calcium phosphate. This renal condition is actually quite common and is responsible for a high number of visits to the emergency room at hospitals.
Who is at risk?
Kidney stones affect both men and women but men have a higher risk of developing these stone-like lumps in the kidneys or the urinary tract. Persons between ages of 25-49 are more frequently affected. Dietary preferences and the pH of the urine can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Certain medication can contribute to the build-up of mineral salts such as calcium containing antacids, diuretics and antiretroviral preparations.
Obese persons and pregnant women are also at risk of developing kidney stones. Other conditions which predispose persons to develop kidney stone are:
•    Diabetes
•    Hypertension
•    Kidney infections
•    Hyperparathyroidism
•    Other metabolic disorders

What are the symptoms?
Usually persons begin to exhibit symptoms when the stones start to move around in the kidney or shift to the small tubes (ureters) leading from the kidney to the bladder. It is also entirely possible to have no symptoms whatsoever and the kidney stone are an incidental finding on x-ray or ultrasound studies for other conditions.
Symptoms include:
o    Pain on urination
o    Vomiting
o    Nausea
o    Loin pain which radiates to the groin
o    Blood in the urine
o    Fever and chills (signs of a urinary tract infection)

A description of all the symptoms being experienced as well as a physical examination done by the doctor will give a preliminary diagnosis. A confirmation is given with diagnostic studies i.e. plain and IVP (contrast aided) x-rays, ultrasound and CT scan.

Is there a cure?
Happily for some persons the stones are passed out along with the urine. This can be spontaneous and may even be painless. Not everyone is so lucky as some patients endure excruciating pain when the kidney stone is transiting through the urinary tract.

Treatment options are:
1.    Administering intravenous fluids and analgesics with the hope of the patient expelling the stone(s).
2.    Surgical removal of the stone
3.    Using ultra sonic waves ( lithotripsy) to break up the stones for easier expulsion in the urine

How can kidney stones be prevented?
For persons who have family history of kidney stones or are predisposed to this because of an underlying disease such as gout, the following tips are helpful.
1. Keep your body well-hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of water daily
2. Limit the use of acid salts
3. Limit the dietary intake of calcium rich food, high salt foods, excessive sugar and calcium oxalate containing vegetables namely spinach.
4. Limit the use of supplements with minerals
5. Have urinary tract infection treated promptly

If you are experiencing lower backache and urinary symptoms, do not ignore or self-diagnose as there are many medical conditions that could be causing those symptoms. Consult with a doctor without delay.


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Family Kidney Disease

Family Kidney Disease

Family_Kidney_DiseaseBesides Family Kidney Disease, hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer from Kidney Failure every year. Although there are many different causes linked to kidney failure, there are a few major diseases that are almost always a precursor to it. The following information analyzes the signs and symptoms of kidney failure and their apparent causes.

Kidney Failure Causes

Although doctors link kidney failure to numerous diseases, the most common are the following:

  • Lupus
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Genetic predispositions

Kidney failure may take place over time or come on suddenly depending on the case and individual. There are generally very few symptoms that are apparent if a person suffers from kidney failure. They include the following:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Lack of mental focus or concentration
  • Swollen Feet and hands
  • Lack of appetite
  • Puffiness around the eyes
  • Night time muscle cramps
  • Frequent urination particularly at night
  • Dry itchy skin.

Damaged or failing kidneys present tremendous challenges to doctors, and patients suffering from the disease. Once diagnosed, there is little chance for reversing the effects and individuals generally deteriorate over time. The only methods of treatment available are dialysis and kidney transplants, both of which are taxing on the human body.

How to prevent kidney failure

Although there is no fool-proof method for preventing kidney disease, there are a few steps you can take now to possibly negate the disease later in life. These methods include living a healthy active lifestyle with reduced sugar and salt intake. You can also reduce or control you blood pressure through medications or exercise.

If you have a predisposition to family kidney disease either through genetics or through other means, it is a good idea to monitor your symptoms through regular checkups with doctors. Failure to keep up with your disease can lead to complete kidney failure and or death.


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Stem Cell Therapy For Kidney Diseases: Is It Possible?

Stem Cell Therapy For Kidney Diseases: Is It Possible?

The number of people developing kidney issues is increasing at a rapid rate. Each day, there are several people being added to the waiting list for kidney transplant. While there is dialysis to buy these patients more time while waiting, there is still no guarantee that they can get the right match at the right time.

Because of this concern, experts continue in their search for a possible solution to cure kidney diseases once and for all. The latest of these potential treatments is Stem Cell Therapy.

What is stem cell therapy?

Stem cell therapy involves the use of stem cells to cure certain illnesses. One good example is the bone marrow transplant. Aside from this, stem cells can also be carried out through the use of blood taken from patients’ umbilical cords.

When it comes to your kidneys, experts are considering the use of stem cells to help your organ repair and regenerate after injury or damage. It’s expected to help treat kidney failure and even renal cysts. Studies also suggest stem cell therapy to be helpful in reversing kidney damage related to diabetes.

With a lot of possibilities, experts are now in the process of searching for the right stem cells for this purpose. The most recent discovery involving this treatment is the mesynchymal stem cells. These cells can be found in your bone marrow and have the ability to help your kidneys heal itself at a faster rate. Experts are eyeing at administering these cells through dialysis machines to expose your blood to them. The more exposure your blood gets means the higher the chance for their pro-repair proteins to reach your kidneys.

Is Stem Cell Therapy for kidney diseases possible already?

Stem Cell Therapy for kidney disease hasn’t been fully established yet. Although there’s progress, there are still a lot of factors that need to be considered first before it can be completely carried out in treatment centers.  With so many complex and different cells, experts need to come up with a process that can guarantee patients of the effectiveness of the treatment approach as well as their safety.

The good news is that research is aggressive and clinical trials are on-going. Although we might not be able to see results and progress anytime soon, we might be able to reap the benefits of these studies for a long time in the future. As of 2016, there are 10 stem cell treatments approved worldwide. Most of them are geared towards cancer and bone marrow treatment. Soon, we might have one for kidney diseases, too.


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2 Tests You Need To Take For Early Kidney Disease Diagnosis

2 Tests You Need To Take For Early Kidney Disease Diagnosis

2 Tests You Need To Take For Early Kidney Disease Diagnosis

Early diagnosis is essential when it comes to kidney diseases. The early you get a definitive diagnosis means the more chances you can get the condition treated or even reversed. One good way to get yourself checked is to submit to laboratory tests. For kidney diseases, there are two major tests that you can take: blood test and urinalysis.

Blood Test

A blood test can test two things about your kidneys. One is your serum creatinine level. Creatinine is the waste product created through muscle use and protein breakdown. A healthy kidney should be able to filter it out effectively from the blood. If your test returns with a high serum creatinine level, it’s an indication of a decreased kidney function.

This test can also reveal your Blood Urea Nitrogen level, which measures the amount of urea present in your blood. Urea is a byproduct of protein breakdown from the food you eat. A high BUN level in your test can indicate a possible kidney problem.

A blood test can also determine your estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate. It’s one of the most common ways to measure kidney functions. It’s also one of the first tests your doctor can order if he suspects kidney problem in your initial assessment.


The earliest symptom you’ll experience when it comes to kidney diseases is the changes in your urine. You’ll feel pain, see visual changes and even notice a difference in how it smells. If you are experiencing any of these things, a urinalysis can give you a clearer idea on whether you should be concerned about them or not.

A urinalysis can test for the presence of albumin or protein in your urine, which is great for detecting the severity of damage to your kidneys. The test can also detect the presence of blood, bacteria or even pus.

If your doctor suspects further problems, he can order you to undergo further examinations or confirmation through X-rays, ultrasounds and other visual imaging tests. He can also suggest getting a biopsy to determine the right treatment plan for you.

In case you are particularly predisposed to kidney diseases, make sure to get your blood pressure regularly checked. It can also help if you can routinely monitor your blood glucose level, particularly if you are presently diagnosed with diabetes. Aside from these conditions, you may also need to undergo the said tests if you have a family history of kidney diseases or if you are already 60 years old and above. Being Asian, Hispanic and African American also puts you at an increased risk of developing kidney problems.


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