Your kidneys are one of the most important organs in your body. They perform multiple vital tasks throughout the day. They remove wastes and excess water from your blood. They also regulate mineral (phosphorus, sodium and potassium) levels in the body and produce an important hormone called Erythropoietin that helps in red blood cell production and prevents anemia.
Kidney failure in children can be caused by birth defects, hereditary diseases, nephrotic syndrome(a disorder that causes over excretion of protein in your urine) and systemic diseases (diseases like hypertension - that affect the whole body). Trauma including injury, severe dehydration or burns, urinary blockage and infection can also lead to kidney disease in children.
Kidney disease in children can range from treatable disorders with long term consequences to life-threatening conditions. There are two types of kidney diseases.
Your child might exhibit the below symptoms that could be an indicator of kidney disease.
Children who suffer from kidney failure, especially CKD, can routinely experience issues like loss of bladder control (urinary incontinence) that can make a dent in their self-image. They can also find school going a challenge and will need their school administrators, teachers and classmates to be educated and made aware of the effects of CKD.
These children may have to miss school several times in the academic year due to medical appointments and dialysis. Parents or guardians would have to work around and outside school hours to schedule the child’s medical appointments.
Children who have had a kidney transplant may experience side-effects of the medications they take, like weight gain, acne or facial hair. Therefore, encouraging your child to mingle with other kids, make friends and participate in sports activities, summer camp and recreational activities may help boost your child’s morale, self-confidence and self-esteem.
It is important for the parent and child to be educated about the course of treatment including multiple medications, specific diets and other instructions to control the disease. Your child’s dietitian can help monitor eating habits on a daily basis.
Children with CKD who are undergoing dialysis lose essential nutrients from their body. However, an overdose of specific nutrients may also put a load on the kidneys. The health care provider, therefore, needs to educate the parent and child about the nutrients that need replenishing on a daily basis.
Helping your child to live life with CKD can be challenging, but the journey is easy when you have the right health care providers and family for support.