People with chronic kidney disease may not feel sick or notice symptoms. But it is a global health concern, with an estimated 1.1 million deaths worldwide.
World Kidney Day is March 11, and this day is an opportunity to bring awareness to this condition.
Awareness is critical because people with chronic kidney disease infected with COVID-19 are at higher risk for serious illness.
Chronic kidney disease describes the gradual loss of kidney function. Your kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from your blood, which are then excreted in your urine. When chronic kidney disease reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluids, electrolytes and wastes can build up in your body.
The prevalence of chronic kidney disease in Arab countries is limited. Still, those countries have a high prevalence of risk factors for the condition, says Naim Issa, M.D., a transplant nephrologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
Diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity are key risk factors. Diabetes and hypertension are the two leading causes of chronic kidney disease worldwide, and in most Arab countries, Dr Issa says. Other risk factors include smoking, heart disease, a family history of the disease, older age and abnormal kidney structure. Smoking can damage the kidneys and worsen kidney damage.
Screening for chronic conditions is essential, as is screening for chronic kidney disease in people with diabetes and high blood pressure, Dr Issa says.
Managing chronic conditions can lower the risk of developing chronic kidney disease. Quitting smoking and losing weight also can help prevent kidney disease.
“In the Middle East and other hot weather areas, it is also important to drink enough water to help prevent kidney problems,” Dr Issa says. “Adults should aim for 2 to 3 litres of water a day to keep their kidneys healthy. It is important to foster a culture of good hydration among adults and children.”
The early stages of chronic kidney disease can have few symptoms. Later, symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, sleep problems, and urine output changes. Sometimes people experience shortness of breath, swelling of the feet and ankles, muscle twitches and cramps, persistent itching and chest pain.
Treatment for chronic kidney disease focuses on slowing the progression of kidney damage. Some people with chronic kidney disease eventually need dialysis and preferably a kidney transplant.
Dr Issa can discuss recent transplant research, including:
- Living donor kidney transplant
A living-donor transplant is a surgical procedure to remove an organ or portion of an organ from a living person and place it in another person whose organ is no longer working correctly. Living-kidney donation is the most common transplant of this type.
- Paired kidney donation
For paired kidney donation, donors and their recipients are not compatible with a transplant. However, the donor of each pair is consistent with the recipient of the other pair.
- Markers in donor’s kidneys
Mayo Clinic researchers have found microstructural features that indicate some long-term susceptibility for chronic kidney disease in otherwise healthy adults.
- Features of living-donor kidneys
Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered that subtle structural features in kidneys from living donors ― features that can only be seen with a microscope ― can predict the risk of transplant failure in recipients.
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