Chronic Kidney Disease in Children
India has seen a disturbing rise in cases of juvenile chronic kidney disease in the past decade. While the disease generally tends to affect adults and children alike, recent findings have begun to find trends that point towards a sharp increase in cases of chronic kidney disease among India’s younger demographic.
Chronic Kidney Disease and your Child
Kidney diseases can bear a heavy toll on your child's physical and mental development in their formative years. The disease can manifest itself as Acute or Chronic, depending on the intensity of the disease. Acute renal failure is a condition that can come out of the blue and potentially be reversed. However Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), as its name suggests, is a more progressive condition that is characterized by a gradual to permanent loss in renal (kidney) function that could be caused due to a host of reasons like:
- Untreated Acute Kidney disease
- High blood pressure
- Long-term blockages and infections in the urinary tract.
- Congenital defects
- Inherited (Hereditary) diseases
- Systemic Diseases like Diabetes that affect the whole body.
- Diseases that affect your kidneys (like Nephrotic syndrome)
Telltale signs of Chronic Kidney Disease
It is important to consult your local physician if your child begins to exhibit telltale symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease like,
- Complaints of Headaches and Bone Aches
- A sudden loss in appetite
- Hearing problems
- Poor mental acuity
- Poor breath
- Inability to pass urine
- Stunted growth
- Diminished muscle growth
- Abdominal mass growth
Based on the above symptoms, your paediatrician can go on to prescribe a few tests to confirm CKD. These include:
- Urinalysis: involves the collection and analysis of protein content in your child's urine. High levels of protein matter can signify poor kidney function.
- Blood tests: Used to test kidney function, Red Blood cell counts (RBC), and the like.
- Imaging tests: Imaging tests like Ultrasounds and X-rays to find any kidney abnormalities or damage.
- Biopsy: Your doctor might also need extract and study kidney tissue under a microscope to determine the level of deterioration.
Treating Kidney Disease
Once confirmed, your doctor might recommend some of the below treatment strategies depending on your child's case and kidney function:
- Diuretics - Medicines to help increase urine flow.
- Dietary changes - Foods rich in protein, potassium, and sodium can stress your child's kidneys and increase fluid retention. Consult your physician to learn how to design renal friendly diets for your child.
- Dialysis - A procedure that replicates kidney function by filtering waste from blood by means of a filtration machine (Dialyzer).
- Kidney transplant - Only for extreme cases of total loss of kidney function, this strategy will require the availability of a compatible organ donor.
Growing Up with Chronic Kidney Disease
Bringing up your precious child under the looming shadow of Chronic Kidney Disease requires a clear and thought out an action plan with regular consultations and follow-ups with your child's paediatrician.
Your goal as a parent should be to keep yourself updated about all the cutting edge news about kidney disease research, continue to find better ways to control the symptoms of the disease or slow down any further organ deterioration, and most importantly be the emotional pillar your child needs you to be during these tumultuous times.
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