Kidney Disease: Myths vs. Facts

 

kidney cancer surgery

Many people receive a lot of misinformation related to kidney functionality and kidney diseases, and are therefore, not suitably aware of how this disease affects our lives. In this post we compare some of the most common myths surrounding kidney diseases and the actual facts about them.

# 1

Myth: Kidney disease is rare.

Fact: Kidney disease affects millions across the globe every year, and is quite common. Almost 10% of the world’s population suffers from Chronic Kidney Disease.

# 2

Myth: Kidney disease tests are expensive and cumbersome.

Fact: The diagnostic tests required to determine kidney disease are very simple and painless. One is a simple urine test which checks for protein in the urine, while the other is a blood test which checks for GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate). Both are pretty affordable and accurate.

# 3

Myth: If there are no obvious discomforts like difficulty in passing urine, it means the kidneys are fine.

Fact: Kidney diseases don’t present any symptoms until they have progressed to very advanced stages. And hence, the lack of any external symptoms is no guarantee that a person doesn’t have a kidney disease; it should be thoroughly ruled out by conducting appropriate medical tests.

# 4

Myth: Kidney disease cannot be prevented for at-risk groups.

Fact: At-risk groups include those with high blood pressure, diabetes, family history of kidney failure, over 60 years of age, and people of Asian, Hispanic, American Indian, Pacific Islander and African-American ethnicities. However, not everyone who falls into these risk groups will develop a kidney disease. By following a healthy lifestyle including balanced diet, regular exercise to maintain weight, controlled blood pressure and blood sugar, and by quitting smoking, among other things, the kidneys can be kept healthy thereby reducing your chances of getting kidney disease.

# 5

Myth: Dialysis is the only treatment for kidney disease.

Fact: Dialysis is required by only those patients whose kidney disease has progressed to advanced stages or those who have kidney failure. Otherwise those patients whose disease is diagnosed in early stages usually require only diet modification, exercise and medication.

# 6

Myth: Dialysis is a painful and exhaustive process which restricts the patient from working or travelling.

Fact: The dialysis process by itself is painless, and generally the only discomfort caused is by the needles which are inserted in the graft or fistula. Certain patients may experience headaches, cramps, nausea, etc. but this can be avoided by taking proper diet and fluid restrictions. Also, the patients undergoing dialysis feel sufficiently fine to work or travel if they take proper care of themselves and follow the doctor’s advice correctly.

[Image credit: hywards at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]