Healthy Living With End Stage Renal Failure

Healthy Living with End Stage Renal Failure

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Dr Cocja

Healthy Living With End Stage Renal Failure

Healthy Living With End Stage Renal FailureEnd Stage Renal Failure is a growing problem in the USA. The kidneys represent the filter which removes waste matter from the body. A build-up of waste matter in the body, and ultimately the blood, results in the body becoming toxic. A very high level of toxicity is not compatible with life.
Other functions of the kidneys include:
•    Red cell production
•    Regulating blood pressure
•    Electrolyte balance

Renal Failure and End Stage Renal Failure

Renal/kidney failure occurs when the kidneys are no longer able to adequately filter waste products from the blood. This condition can progressively worsen to chronic renal failure.
There are five stages to chronic renal failure and it is the glomerular filtration rate GFR which is used to make the determination about the stage. Factors used to calculate the GFR include age, gender, race, and the blood level of creatinine. Stage five is referred to as end stage renal disease.

End stage renal disease is the stage of renal failure over time, months, and years, when the kidneys have lost almost all their ability to function and the only way to survive is by having dialysis or a renal transplant.

The Keys to Healthy Living with kidney failure

Adopting a healthy lifestyle program can add life to your health and years to your life. The keys are:

Diet Considerations for Renal Patients
It is extremely important to consult with a dietitian for an individualized diet with meal plans. The dietician will take into consideration your weight, height and co-morbidities such as hypertension and diabetes.
In general you will be encouraged to:

•    Limit not only salt but also sodium intake
•    Limit fluid intake
•    Limit processed and refined foods
•    Limit calcium intake
•    Limit saturated fat and foods rich in cholesterol
•    Include vitamin D, soluble B vitamins, vitamin C and iron supplements as recommended by the dietitian
•    Increase protein intake but not exceed the daily requirements
•    Maintain a healthy weight

Physical activity
Daily physical activity that is appropriate to your age and state of health is beneficial for:

•    Overall well-being
•    Improving the circulation
•    Strengthening the heart muscles
•    Fitness and flexibility
•    Combating depression

No tobacco use
Smoking tobacco substantially increases the risk of renal disease, cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and heart attacks, strokes, dilatation (aneurysm) of major blood vessels and occlusion of peripheral vascular disease. If you are a smoker there is help for smoking cessation.

No alcohol
Whereas mild to moderate alcohol intake may have some health benefits this is not at all so for the individual with impaired kidney function. Alcohol consumed in large quantities over time damages the organs, suppresses the immune system and increases a risk of certain types of cancers.

Stress Management
Here are some great tips:

•    Build your self-confidence by using affirmations  that speak to your uniqueness, talent and inner beauty
•    Visualize what you wish to achieve in life, then, develop a plan to help you realize those goals.
•    Express your deep feelings and release anger, disappointments and fear.
•    Relaxation and sleep are essential for optimal health.
•    Choose to be contented and happiness. These states of mind attract harmony. Explore your passion and purpose in life.
•    Whatever your belief system, be resolved to deepen your spiritual practices.

Support Group
Persons who are living with a chronic medical challenge do better when they are a part of a support group or community. They can benefit from connecting with each other so that there is a sharing of common experiences, challenges and successes

At Live Kidney Donation, we provide a blog for you to be inspired by real individuals who share their experiences of triumphs and challenges. We give hope to the community of persons living with chronic renal failure and end-stage kidney failure.


Do you have symptoms of kidney infection

Symptoms of Kidney Infection

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Dr Cocja

Symptoms of Kidney Infection

Do you have symptoms of kidney infectionThe Symptoms of Kidney Infection are subtle because the primary function of the kidneys is to remove waste matter and toxins from the body. The blood circulates through the kidney and it is through the filtering action of the kidneys that the blood is cleansed of waste products and toxins. The kidneys can, however, become infected and this can compromise kidney function.
We are all at risk of developing a kidney infection from time to time. There are however some groups of persons who are at higher risk including children, persons who have to use indwelling catheters and pregnant women.

Symptoms of kidney infection?
•    Poor hygiene
•    Sexual intercourse
•    Pregnancy
•    Catheters
•    Kidney stones
A kidney infection generally starts at the opening to the bladder called the urethra. The bacteria then travels up into the bladder and then into one or both kidneys. It can take only a few hours or days for a kidney infection to develop.
Symptoms of a kidney infection include:
o    High Fever
o    Chills
o    Lower back pain
o    Loss of appetite
o    Malaise
If there is infection of the lower urinary tract (urethra and/or bladder) other symptoms that can present are:
o    Burning or pain on passing the urine
o    Passing urine frequently, urgency to urinate
o    Difficulty passing the urine
o    Foul smelling urine which may be cloudy in appearance
o    Blood in the urine
Note that kids tend to exhibit symptoms of bedwetting and failure to grow at a normal rate.

Seek medical advice without delay
A kidney infection that is not treated appropriately can lead to complications including kidney failure. The doctor will take a history about the symptoms and do a physical examination. Diagnostic tests: blood, urine analysis, urine culture and sonogram are done to confirm the diagnosis as well as to detect whether there are causes or complications.
The common bacteria which cause urinary tract infections are E. coli and Klebsiella.  E. coli is normally found in the stool as it lives in our gut. For this reason it is important to practice good personal hygiene to avoid the accidental introduction of the bacteria in the urinary tract.
Treatment invariably involves a course of antibiotics and medication for relief or pain and fever. It is important for the doctor to prescribe the appropriate antibiotic that will completely resolve the infection.

Tips to prevent Urinary Tract Infection
o    Drink adequate amounts of water daily to flush the kidneys. Limit the consumption of sugary drink.
o    Pay attention to personal hygiene especially of the genital area and anus.
o    Unwashed  or inadequately washed genitals can introduce germs in the urethra during sexual intercourse.
o    Teach children to wipe away from the front to the back after a bowel action.
o    Avoid long delays when there is the urge to urinate.

It is important to recognize the early symptoms of a urinary tract infection and have it appropriately treated before it spreads to the kidneys.  A chronic kidney infection can lead to serious complications and so protect your kidneys from irreparable damage.

illustration of the kidney stones. urology, dialysis

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.