How does kidney disease affect children?
Kidney disease, irrespective of age, can affect children in various ways. Kidney disease in children may range from treatable disorders to life-threatening conditions. Acute kidney disease is a condition that develops suddenly and lasts for a short time. This condition can be serious, creating long-lasting consequences. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) worsens with time. CKD might lead to kidney failure or end-stage kidney disease (ESRD).
What are the functions of kidneys?
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs. These are located just below the rib cage, on each side of the spine. These kidneys filter about 120 to 150 quarts of blood and produce about 1 to 2 quarts of urine. The urine is composed of chemical wastes and extra fluids. Children have less urine compared to adults, and the amount varies as per their age. The bladder stores urine.
Each kidney is made up of nearly a million filtering units called nephrons. This nephron is composed of glomerulus and a tubule. The nephrons work through a two-step process. The kidney controls the level of minerals such as sodium, phosphorus, and potassium in the body. It also produces an important hormone that prevents anaemia-erythropoietin.
What causes kidney disease in children?
Kidney disease in children is caused by:
- hereditary diseases
- congenital/birth defects
- systemic diseases
- urine reflux due to blockage
- nephrotic syndrome
Hereditary kidney diseases are illnesses transferred from parent to child, and the information is transmitted through genes, e.g., polycystic kidney disease (PKD), Alport syndrome, etc. Alport syndrome is caused by a mutation in a gene that helps in the formation of glomeruli. This condition leads to scarring of the kidneys. This problem generally develops in early childhood.
These defects occur when the baby is developing in the mother’s womb. The commonly occurring congenital disabilities are renal agenesis, renal dysplasia and ectopic kidney etc. These abnormalities create differences in size, structure, or position of kidneys e.g.
- renal agenesis—a child born with only one kidney
- renal dysplasia—a child born with one functional kidney
- ectopic kidney—a child born with one dispositioned kidney
Children with renal agenesis or renal dysplasia are at increased risk of developing kidney disease.
Systemic diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or lupus and diabetes affect many organs, including the kidneys. Lupus nephritis is kidney inflammation caused by SLE, an autoimmune disease.
A trauma such as burns, dehydration, bleeding, injury, or surgery lowers blood pressure. This, in turn, will decrease the blood flow to the kidneys. This low blood flow may result in acute kidney failure.
Urine Blockage or Reflux
If there is any blockage between the kidneys and the urethra, urine backs up towards the kidneys and can cause damage to it. In cases where the valve between the bladder and the ureter does not close properly, the urine flows backward to the kidneys, known as Kidney Reflux.
The invasion of microorganisms causes infections. Certain conditions are developed due to certain infections, e.g., hemolytic uremic syndrome, and acute post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis.
- Hemolytic uremic syndrome: It is a disease often caused by Escherichia coli (E. coli). These bacteria are usually transferred with contaminated foods such as meat, dairy products, juices, etc. This bacterium entering the digestive system produces a toxin that destroys red blood cells and damages the blood vessels and glomeruli lining.
- Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis usually occurs after an episode of strep throat or a skin infection. When the extra antibodies, produced in response to an invasion, circulate in the blood and are finally deposited in the glomeruli. This might cause kidney damage, and the damage may be permanent.
A syndrome is a collection of symptoms that indicates damage. A Nephrotic Syndrome shows the presence of the following conditions:
- albuminuria—a condition with elevated levels of albumin in the blood
- hyperlipidemia—higher than normal fat and cholesterol levels in the blood
- edema—swelling in legs, feet, or ankles. Occasionally seen in hands or face
- hypoalbuminemia—low levels of albumin in the blood
Nephrotic syndrome in children can be caused due to:
- Minimal change disease: It is characterised by damage to the glomeruli due to allergic reactions, vaccinations, and viral infections.
- Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis: It causes scarring in scattered regions of the kidney.
- Membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis: It is a type of autoimmune disease.
How can we diagnose kidney disease in children?
A health care provider or a doctor can diagnose kidney disease in children with the help of physical examination, medical history, and by reviewing signs and symptoms. These tests are confirmed with one or more of the following tests:
- Dipstick test
- Albumin: Creatinine ratio
- Blood Test
- Imaging Tests-USG, MRI, or CT scans
- Kidney Biopsy
How is kidney disease treated in children –Allopathic and Ayurvedic ways?
The treatment for kidney disease in children depends upon the cause of the illness, and the child must be referred to a paediatric nephrologist. In children, when kidney function declines, it hampers growth of children also. In such cases, children may need treatment for anaemia and growth failure. Anaemia in kidney patients is treated with a hormone called erythropoietin. This hormone stimulates the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. Children affected with growth failure may be required to make dietary changes and take food supplements or growth hormone injections. The two types of treatment, i.e., dialysis and transplantation, are necessary for Children with kidney disease that leads to kidney failure. They must receive treatment to replace the work the kidneys do.
For kidney diseases, allopathy recommends dialysis or transplant patients. In contrast, ayurveda can play a vital role by helping you get rid of it or increase its functional ability.
Ayurveda is our ancient medical science. It has a different and complete understanding of the human body and treats it as one entity. It describes the ways to keep it disease-free and healthy. Ayurveda treats by working on the root cause of the diseases. It is treated with natural herbs, a well-balanced diet, and some yoga stances to cure a disorder. Ayurvedic medicines like Punarnava, Varun, Kasni, Palaash, Gokshur, and many more are commonly used. These medicines are used in combination with other medicines and are then used for kidney problems. It works by eliminating kidney problems. It also works toward the restoration of damaged kidney cells. These herbal preparations in ayurvedic treatment enhance the functioning of kidneys. The main advantage of this treatment is that it has minimal side effects on your health.
Disclaimer: Information provided here is only meant for information purposes. It should not be taken as any professional medical advice or treatment. Any medicine should be taken under strict medical supervision. For appointments, call at our 24×7 helpline: +91-9871712050 or visit www.karmaayurvedahospital.com