Renal insufficiency – symptoms and treatment
The kidneys are essential for human survival: they filter and purify the blood and keep vital electrolytes in balance. A kidney failure is not rare and can even be fatal. Although early detection of the disease is important, it is often recognized only at an advanced stage. Once a kidney failure is diagnosed, attention must be paid to proper nutrition to avoid organ damage.
The main job of the kidneys is to detoxify the body. They do this by filtering toxins and breakdown products out of the blood, which are then eliminated in the urine. If too many toxins accumulate in the blood, they damage the whole body and can even damage the organs.
Kidney failure goes through several stages and develops into chronic renal insufficiency. At this time, the kidneys are so badly damaged that they can not cleanse the blood properly and organs are strained.
Chronic renal insufficiency is often caused by inflammation of the renal corpuscles. Even a diabetes of many years (diabetes mellitus) and high blood pressure can damage the kidneys. Inflammation of the renal pelvis or urinary tract can also cause chronic renal insufficiency. In rare cases, a congenital malformation of the kidneys with numerous cysts (polycystic kidney disease) or the abuse of painkillers is the cause of the disease.
Kidney failure often goes unnoticed for a long time, as the symptoms of kidney failure become apparent only in the late stages. Early symptoms include increased thirst and frequent urination. As the kidneys are increasingly struggling to filter out toxins, they drain more blood from the blood, which facilitates excretion.
In later stages, however, the body overhydrates. The kidneys are so weakened that they barely produce urine and water >High blood pressure and water retention in the tissue, so-called edema .
Only conditionally functioning kidneys harm the whole body and burden the organs. Healthy kidneys produce a messenger substance called erythropoietin. Erythropoietin stimulates the bone marrow to form red blood cells. Kidney weakness therefore also causes anemia, resulting in increased fatigue.
An increased phosphate content in the blood due to decreased excretion >Cause itching of the skin. This is due to phosphate crystals under the skin. Also, a yellowing of the skin is a symptom of renal insufficiency.
The cleavage of protein produces ammonia. As it is no longer thoroughly filtered by the kidneys, a metallic taste in the mouth and a smell reminiscent of urine is a symptom of renal insufficiency.
The disturbed electrolyte balance leads to muscle weakness, apathy and altered sensory perception .
Other symptoms of kidney failure include nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite, which can be caused by the accumulation of toxins in the blood.
The treatment of kidney weakness depends on the stage and severity. In the early stages, treat the underlying cause and slow disease progression:
If hypertension is present, antihypertensive agents, such as ACE inhibitors, are prescribed. Regulating blood pressure is important for two reasons: a weakened kidney can increase blood pressure and high blood pressure damages the kidney and causes the disease to progress further.
In diabetic patients, it is crucial to adjust the blood sugar properly, as too high blood sugar harms the kidney.
In the final stage of chronic renal insufficiency, a blood wash (dialysis) or kidney transplantation is necessary. Dialysis replaces the function of the kidney. By means of dialysis, the blood is filtered and the body is deprived of excess water and toxins. Unfortunately, dialysis must be carried out very regularly, for example every other day. The only alternative to dialysis is a kidney transplant, where the patient receives a donor organ.
With the right nutrition, you can significantly influence the course of the disease and slow down the progression. The nutrition essentially aims to relieve the kidney. The kidney, for example, provides a balanced electrolyte balance, which is important for the function of muscle and nerve cells. A reduced intake of certain electrolytes supports the kidney. You should take the following ingredients in small amounts in renal insufficiency:
Protein: The breakdown product of protein is urea, which must be excreted through the urine. A lower protein intake therefore relieves the kidney. Recommended daily are 0.6 to 0.8 g of protein per kg of body weight. One should pay attention to a high biological usability. This means that the protein has a high proportion of amino acids (protein building blocks) that the body can not produce itself, so-called essential amino acids. Recommended sources of protein are eggs, legumes, dairy products and wheat. In order to meet the energy needs further, therefore, increased fat and carbohydrates must be included. However, carbohydrate-rich cereal products also contain a lot of protein and may need to be replaced by low-protein substitutes.
Phosphate: Too much phosphate damages the bone and makes it more brittle. Not more than 1 g of phosphate should be ingested daily. The phosphate-rich foods include nuts, whole grains, offal, milk, yogurt and buttermilk. Cheese and cottage cheese contain less phosphate than other dairy products. Avoid foods that are artificially added to phosphate. These include, for example, sausages, processed cheese and canned milk.
Potassium: High levels of potassium in the blood can cause cardiac arrhythmia. Do not take more than 1.5 to 2 g daily. Unfortunately, many otherwise healthy foods contain lots of potassium. In renal insufficiency, however, they should consume only limited. Potassium-rich foods include mushrooms, potatoes, green vegetables such as broccoli, chard, spinach, kale and Brussels sprouts, nuts, legumes and some fruits, such as bananas, apricots and avocados.
Water: As the disease progresses, the ability of the kidney to excrete water diminishes. You should then drink only about as much as you excrete in the urine. As a rule of thumb: the amount of urine excreted the day before + 500 ml.
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