Chronic kidney diseases
Chronic kidney disease is a term used for any disorder that affects the long-term functioning of the kidneys. There are numerous causes for chronic kidney disease. It's important to keep the kidneys healthy by eating right and living a healthy lifestyle. If your child has chronic kidney disease, your doctor will advise you as to which treatment is best.
What causes chronic kidney diseases?
Most chronic kidney diseases are caused by injury, illness, infection, and/or genetics. Kids with diabetes, kidney scarring, or a hereditary kidney disease, such as polycystic kidney disease, may be at greater risk for chronic kidney disease. Some medications can also damage the kidneys.
Are chronic kidney diseases serious?
Kidney failure can be life-threatening. It is important to identify and treat chronic kidney diseases in order to give your child a normal life. The kidneys are responsible for filtering toxins from the blood. Damage to the kidneys can generally not be reversed, but it can often be prevented and/or treated so that it doesn't get worse.
Can I prevent chronic kidney diseases?
Some chronic kidney diseases can be prevented by avoiding the damage to the kidneys that causes them to malfunction. Early detection is a key component of treatment success.
How do I know if my child has a chronic kidney disease?
Kidney disease is often called a silent disease since the symptoms are often overlooked. Kids with kidney disease may have any of the following symptoms:
- A dramatic change in the number of times your child goes to the bathroom
- Blood in the urine (haematuria) or foaming urine
- Puffiness around the eyes and ankles (oedema)
- Pain in the lower back where the kidneys are located
- Pain or burning sensation when passing urine
How do I treat chronic kidney diseases?
The treatment for chronic kidney disease depends on the amount of damage the kidneys have sustained. Treatment ranges from dietary changes to kidney transplant. If the kidneys are performing at less than 10%, dialysis will probably be necessary. During dialysis, artificial methods are used to clean your child's blood. It is also important to treat whatever has caused the kidney disease.
Should I call the doctor?
You should always call the doctor if your child shows signs of kidney disease. Also, if your child is being treated for kidney disease and displays any of the following symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately, as these may be an indication of kidney failure:
- Fatigue and inability to concentrate
- Generally feeling unwell
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shortness of breath
What you need to know about chronic kidney diseases
- Kidney damage is permanent, but treatment is available.
- The treatment your child receives for kidney disease depends on the amount of damage to the kidneys.
- A child whose kidneys are no longer functioning may need dialysis or a transplant.
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Written by Rebecca Stigall for Kidspot, New Zealand's parenting resource for family health. Sources include Better Health Channel, NSW Health and Health Insite.
Last revised: Monday, 15 September 2014
This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a qualified health professional.