Every part of the body has to perform a vital function that contributes to maintaining our overall health. There are certain external factors that affect the functioning of these organs and if left unchecked, they can cause gradual deterioration. One such condition that is known to affect 31 million people in the country and is the ninth leading cause of death is kidney disease. Kidney disease or chronic kidney disease is a condition that is characterized by the slow deterioration of the kidneys and gradual loss of kidney function.
The kidneys are assigned the work of filtering wastes and excess fluids from the body which exit the body in the form of urine. Kidney disease impairs the kidney function and in advanced stages, the kidneys may stop working completely.
The treatment for kidney disease depends on the underlying cause of the condition and usually involves different measures to control the signs and symptoms of the condition, reduce the complications that arise, and thereby, slow down the progression of the disease. The treatment options for kidney disease are as follows:
Treating the cause
Kidney disease is often collateral damage of other health conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. So, in such cases, the treatment options usually focus on treating the underlying condition. Though chronic kidney disease cannot be cured, treating the underlying condition can help the individual seek some respite from the signs and symptoms of the condition. In case, the kidneys are severely damaged, the patient has to undergo the treatment for end-stage kidney disease.
Treating the complications
Another treatment option for kidney disease involves treating the complications that arise due to the condition. The treatments for this may include:
- Medications to lower cholesterol levels– People with kidney disease experience a sudden surge of bad cholesterol which can increase the risk of heart disease. Which is why doctors might prescribe medications to lower the cholesterol levels.
- Medications to lower high blood pressure– High blood pressure is known to cause kidney disease, and people with kidney disease will experience worsening high blood pressure. In such cases, the doctor will prescribe medications to reduce high blood pressure, but these medications can decrease the kidney function initially and can gradually change the electrolyte levels, thereby, improving the kidney function.
- Treating anemia– Reduced kidney function leads to anemia, which is characterized by lowering of red blood cell levels. For treating anemia, the physician might describe erythropoietin (EPO) supplements to increase the production of red blood cells which help in improving the symptoms associated with anemia.
- Medications to relieve swelling and protecting the bones– Decreased kidney function leads to fluid retention, which causes swelling in the legs and other parts of the body. Also, kidney disease weakens the bones which is why vitamin D supplements and calcium are prescribed to patients with kidney disease.
Treatment for end-stage kidney disease
For end-stage kidney disease, there are two treatment options available:
- Dialysis– This treatment involves artificially removing the waste products and extra fluid from the blood when the kidneys cannot do this on their own.
- Kidney transplant– Kidney transplant involves surgically removing the damaged kidney and replacing it with a healthy kidney. The patient will have to keep taking medicines for the rest of their life to prevent the body from rejecting the new organ.