Common kidney myths that we believe in!

Common kidney myths that we believe in!
Highlights

Common kidney myths that we believe in.Leading a healthy and balanced life with a sensible diet, appropriate fluid intake, adequate sleep, regular exercise, avoidance of unnecessary medications and good control of any underlying diseases are the keys to a healthy kidney.

Leading a healthy and balanced life with a sensible diet, appropriate fluid intake, adequate sleep, regular exercise, avoidance of unnecessary medications and good control of any underlying diseases are the keys to a healthy kidney. To my mind, one of the biggest hurdles to maintain kidney are the various myths regarding kidney disease, often spread by unqualified people.

To prevent kidney damage one must drink at least 5 litres of water daily

Too much water overload the kidneys which have to work extra to excrete the load. Two to three litres of fluids daily are enough to maintain kidney health.

Patients with kidney disease have trouble passing urine properly

More than half of kidney disease patients have no problems with urination. Less than 10 per cent of patients with kidney disease have absent urine output.

Kidney disease indicates damage to only one kidney

Kidney damage indicates dysfunction of both kidneys simultaneously. If one kidney is damaged or absent, the other kidney hypertrophies and compensates till 80% of original function is restored.

Lower back pain is a symptom of kidney disease

Kidney disease is a painless disease. The only situation when kidney disease causes pain is when a stone blocks the ureter (the tube that connects the kidney to the urinary bladder).

Kidney disease is genetic and passed down from generations

Less than 5 per cent of kidney diseases are genetic. Diabetes, blood pressure, infections, stone disease and medication abuse are the common causes of kidney disease.

Once dialysis is started, should it be continued for life

Dialysis is continued for life only if the patient has long standing kidney disease which has progressed to end stage kidney failure. Sometimes, patients with recent onset kidney disease need temporary dialysis till the underlying cause is identified and treated and the patient recovers kidney function. Such patients often make a complete recovery and stay off dialysis.

Patients on dialysis should avoid exercise and reduce intake of protein

Patients on dialysis must do some light exercises. They should eat a high protein diet to replace protein losses during dialysis. Protein restriction is suggested only in those who have early kidney stages of kidney damage

Before kidney transplant the original kidneys are removed surgically

The original kidneys are not removed before kidney transplant. The donated kidney is added on so that the patient has three kidneys. In very, very rare instances, (when the original kidneys are full of pus or too big and occupying space), the native kidneys are removed.

Kidney donors die early and cannot lead a normal life

On the contrary, long-term studies have shown that kidney donors live longer than the general population! This is probably because donors are extensively tested before kidney donation and are proven healthy individuals. Kidney donors can lead a completely normal life after donation.

• Kidney transplant patients should lead a totally secluded and inactive life

Kidney transplant patients can lead a normal life after transplant. The best example is Ivan Klasnic, a Croatian footballer who played for Croatia in the UEFA Euro Cup in 2004. In 2007, he underwent a kidney transplant and represented Croatia in the UEFA Euro Cup in 2008. He scored two goals in the tournament!

He also represented Croatia in the 2010 World Cup Qualifiers. It does not get any better than this!Hope this article busts some of the common myths about kidney disease. Live healthy and fear-free. More detailed information can be sought from a qualified nephrologist.(The author is a senior consultant nephrologist)

By Dr V Ravi Andrews

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