Kidney Awareness Week wraps up on 6 September, we look at fast facts you should be aware of. pic:

What Kidney diseases do:

Kidney diseases attack the nephrons, the tiny filtering units within the kidneys, which lose their filtering capacity. This can be caused by diseases such as inherited Hypertension or Type 2 Diabetes. Most kidney diseases destroy the nephrons slowly and silently. Kidney damage can however manifest quickly - often as a result of genetic disorders, severe dehydration, abuse of anti-inflammatories and over the counter drugs.

As kidney function diminishes, waste products and fluid buildup in the bloodstream.

What dialysis does:

Dialysis, which removes some of the patient’s blood, filters it and returns it to the body, then becomes a necessity and is often used as a life-saving treatment option. Dialysis is beneficial for patients that suffer from acute renal failure (temporary loss of kidney function), or for fairly stable patients who have permanently lost kidney function (stage 5 chronic kidney disease).

In the event of chronic kidney disease (CKD), treatment focuses on slowing the progression of kidney damage, usually by controlling the underlying cause.  CKD can progress to end-stage kidney failure (stage 5), a condition requiring on-going artificial filtering of the blood (dialysis) or a kidney transplant. Most patients who require chronic dialysis visit a treatment centre several times a week, sometimes even until transplantation may happen.

Did you know:

  • Kidney failure in South African adults is primarily due to inherited Hypertension or Type 2 Diabetes
  • Kidney failure in the black population is four times higher than other groups – due to the high incidence of Hypertension.
  • Hypertension and Diabetes can be prevented, diagnosed early and properly treated. In doing so, potentially 70-80% of all chronic kidney failure and /or cardio-vascular deaths are preventable.

Symptoms of kidney failure may include:

  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Frequent need to urinate, especially at night (which grows with time)
  • Itchy skin
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Erectile dysfunction (men have difficulty getting and/or sustaining an erection)
  • Water retention (swollen feet, hands, ankles)
  • Blood in the urine; and or
  • Protein in the urine

* Supplied by Life Renal Dialysis specialised healthcare service