Six unexpected signs of kidney damage, and how to reverse it
According to Dr Riaan Flooks, a nephrologist at Mediclinic Bloemfontein, methods of identifying renal disease have advanced to allow for a much earlier diagnosis. For this reason, the incidence of kidney disease seems to have increased. “With the evolution in treatment, outcomes have also improved as well as longer graft survival for renal grafts,” he adds.
How do we damage our kidneys?
Diabetes Mellitus is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) worldwide. With the obesity pandemic, diabetes is the disease that shows the greatest growth. “Obesity, associated with lack of exercise, is the leading risk factor for developing diabetes,” says Dr Flooks.
“We need to reduce our sugar and processed food intake in order to limit the development of obesity,” he says, emphasising that a regular exercise programme is as important.
Reversibility of kidney damage
Kidney disease can be divided into acute and chronic disease groups. “Chronic renal disease is usually irreversible since fibrosis is an irreversible entity,” explains Dr Flooks, adding that patients with chronic renal disease will usually require dialysis and will eventually need a renal transplant.
Patients with acute renal disease can regain quite a significant amount of renal function with treatment. But the possibility of regaining renal function depends on the underlying renal disease.
In the past, it was thought that acute renal failure did not have any long-term abnormalities following the disease, but this has been proven not to be the case. “Patients who have had an episode of acute renal failure should be meticulously followed up on,” says Dr Flooks.