What is acute kidney disease?
Acute kidney disease occurs when the human kidneys don’t function properly. It can lead to minor loss of kidney function to complete kidney failure.
Acute kidney disease usually occurs as a complication of another severe illness. It is more common in older people who are unwell with other medical conditions as a result of which the kidneys are also affected.
Timely diagnosis of acute kidney disease is essential so that complications can be avoided and treatment is done at the earliest.
Without timely treatment, abnormal levels of salts and chemicals may build up in the body, affecting the organs to function properly.
Are there any symptoms of acute kidney disease?
Acute kidney disease may not have symptoms. The doctor may discover the patient having this condition while conducting tests for some other reason.
A person having acute kidney disease may have these symptoms-
- Urinating less than normal
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pain and swelling
- Swelling in legs, ankles and feet
Acute kidney disease needs to be taken seriously as it has an effect on the whole body. It can make existing conditions in the body more complicated.
Who is at risk of acute kidney disease?
A person is more likely to have acute kidney disease, if-
- They are aged 65 or more
- They already have a kidney problem, like chronic kidney disease
- They are dehydrated or cannot maintain their fluid intake
- They have a urinary tract blockage
- They have a long term disease like liver disease, heart problem or diabetes
- They are on a certain medication or on blood pressure drugs
How is acute kidney disease caused?
It is commonly seen that acute kidney disease is caused by reduced blood flow to the kidneys, most commonly in people who have already been diagnosed with other medical conditions.
This reduced blood flow could be caused as a result of-
- Low blood volume after bleeding, excessive vomiting or severe dehydration.
- If the heart manages to pump out less blood than normal, as a result of heart failure or liver failure.
- If there is blockage in the blood vessels within the kidneys.
- Certain medicines that can affect the blood flow to the kidney
Acute kidney disease can also be caused by glomerulonephritis, that is a problem with the kidney itself.
It may result in the blockage of the kidney affecting its functioning of filtering waste, such as-
- An enlarged prostate
- Kidney stones
How is acute kidney disease diagnosed?
If the signs and symptoms suggest that there may be acute kidney disease, then the doctor may recommend these tests-
- Urine output measurements: it requires measuring how much a person urinates in a spa of 24 hours, that may help the doctor determine the exact cause of kidney disease.
- Urine tests: it requires analyzing a sample of the patient’s urine, also known as urinalysis. These tests may reveal abnormalities that suggest problems in the kidneys.
- Blood tests: urea and creatinine are two substances used to measure kidney function. These tests take into consideration a sample of the patient’s blood to study the rising levels of these substances.
- Imaging tests: Ultrasound and computed tomography (CT) scans are imaging tests that may be used to help doctors get a clarity on the kidneys.
- Removing a sample of kidney tissue for testing: a kidney biopsy may be recommended by the doctor in some situations. This requires removal of a small sample of kidney tissue for the purpose of lab testing. The doctor needs to insert a needle through the patient’s skin and into their kidney to remove the sample.
Are there any complications of acute kidney disease?
Acute kidney disease can sometimes have complications. Some common complications include-
- Fluid buildup : This condition can cause fluid to buildup in the body. If the fluid gets built up in a person’s lungs, it can cause shortness of breath.
- Chest pain : If the lining that covers our heart becomes inflamed, it may cause chest pain.
- Acidic blood : If there is too much acid in the blood due to acute kidney disease, that may cause nausea, vomiting, and breathlessness.
- Permanent kidney damage : Acute kidney disease can become chronic and the kidneys can stop working almost entirely. This condition is called end-stage renal disease. In such a situation, a person has only two alternatives left to revive their kidney- permanent dialysis or a kidney transplant.
How can acute kidney disease be treated?
The doctor will have to work in such a way that the complications can be prevented and the kidneys are given enough time to recover. Treatments that can help prevent complications are-
- Treatments to balance the amounts of fluids in the blood: If the acute kidney disease is caused by a lack of fluids in the blood, the doctor may recommend intravenous fluids.
- Medications to control blood potassium : If the kidneys are unable to filter potassium from a person’s blood, then the doctor may prescribe calcium, glucose or sodium to prevent high levels of potassium from accumulating in their blood. Excessive potassium in a person’s blood can cause irregular heartbeats and muscle weakness.
- Medications to restore blood calcium levels: If the levels of calcium in a person’s blood happen to drop lower than normal, then the doctor may recommend an infusion of calcium.
- Dialysis to remove toxins from the blood: If toxins build up in a person’s blood, they may need dialysis to help remove toxins and extra fluids from their body while their kidneys heal. The procedure of dialysis requires a machine to pump blood out from the patient’s body through a dialyzer that filters out waste. The clean blood is then returned to their body.
Ayurveda treatment for acute kidney disease
Acute kidney disease treatment in Ayurveda is the most suited option to go for. Ayurveda has its roots in India, however today it is a globally popular concept for its results. Ayurveda is holistic in nature, i.e., it not just accounts for the symptoms of a disease but also caters to other factors such as conditions of mind, body and soul.
Since it makes use of natural herbs, Ayurveda can treat acute kidney disease and also makes it the ideal treatment alternative as it has no side effects on the body. Unlike other treatment alternatives such as Dialysis and kidney transplant, it is affordable and result-oriented.