What can we do for the health of our kidneys? How can the nephrologist help?
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Nephrology is a subspecialty of internal medicine, which has grown into an almost independent area thanks to the rapid professional developments of recent years. The nephrologist examines and treats the function and the diseases of the kidneys. Kidney diseases present often insidiously, without any obvious symptoms or are only accidentally discovered during the lab and imaging tests performed. In addition to acute renal impairment, many chronic diseases may also lead to end-stage renal impairment, such as poorly treated high blood pressure or diabetes. In addition, inherited and acquired diseases may also cause renal failure. Unfortunately, the renal replacement therapy is often unavoidable in the case of a progressive deterioration in kidney function.
The incidence of chronic or acute renal impairment associated with the hereditary or so-called autoimmune diseases has not changed substantially in recent years, but the number of patients with high blood pressure and diabetes is increasing due to civilization hazards.
What are the symptoms of advanced kidney damage?
The development of kidney disease is often asymptomatic, without any special symptoms. Since initially, there are no specific symptoms, only a special nephrological examination can determine whether there is a possibility for renal impairment. It is desirable to go to a nephrological screening when renal disease is known in the patient’s family.
In more advanced renal impairment
- passing urine and
- the color of the urine may change,
- edema may appear anywhere,
- newly developed hypertension may be its sign,
- general weakness,
- increased loss of appetite,
- frequent nausea, in which case emergent interventions can often be needed.
- some of the patients may experience muscle spasms and skin pruritus
Sudden spasmodic pain and urine abnormalities, are more likely to suggest kidney stones, nephrological examination can help to prove this.
What can lead to kidney damage?
- Kidney stones rarely leads to chronic kidney disease, but neglecting them, or the recurrent urinary infections may cause progressive kidney damage. In addition, nephrological examination may be necessary to investigate possible endocrinological reasons in the background.
- Recurrent lower urinary tract.
- Regular and various antimicrobial therapies.
What can we do for the healthy functioning of the kidneys?
In addition to the screening tests, we can do a lot with our life-style and diet to preserve our kidney function. Perhaps it has already been said may times, and this is all over the news, but daily consumption of the right amount of fluid is essential. However, this should not be overdone, and we should consume an average of 2 to 2.5 liters of fluid. During warmer weather we can have 3 liters, or we can require more in extreme heat, but we also need to have the right amount of ion supplementation. The food industry uses excessive amounts of salt, which helps to preserve food quality, but regular, high levels of salt intake are harmful to our body. By paying attention to the salt intake, we reduce the risk of developing hypertension and the chance of renal impairment. In addition to healthy diet, regular exercise also contributes to the preservation of our health and the proper functioning of our kidneys.
Author: Ákos Pethő MD