Take Your Kidneys Seriously – You Only Have Two!
Dr Moses Mahlangu, Specialist Nephrologist at Lenmed Zamokuhle Private Hospital in Thembisa, says very clearly, “Do not neglect early warning signs of a kidney problem. Visit your doctor regularly for general check-ups, especially if you suffer from chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, or if there is someone in your family who has kidney disease.”
The kidneys are essential organs whose function is critical to the health of your body. They filter the blood to remove waste and regulate the various chemicals in the blood.
Early warning signs could be:
- Pain in your back or lower right side
- Changes in urination—making more or less urine than usual, feeling pressure when urinating, changes in the colour of urine, foamy or bubbly urine, or having to get up at night to urinate
- Swelling of the feet, ankles, hands or face caused by fluid the kidneys cannot remove
- Fatigue or weakness caused by a build-up of waste
- Shortness of breath caused by fluid building up in the lungs
- Metal taste in the mouth—a result of waste build-up in the body that can cause bad breath
To reduce your risk of developing kidney disease, drink adequate amounts of fluid, avoid excess salt, exercise regularly, watch your weight, get regular general check-ups and visit your doctor immediately as symptoms start appearing. Testing prostate, blood and urine is vital.
Dr Mahlangu adds, “You have to be extremely careful of what prescribed and over-the-counter medication you take, especially anti-inflammatory drugs and pain drugs which are often over-prescribed, especially for the elderly. For example, if you have a kidney problem, you cannot take Voltaren every day or something like Med-Lemon which has a very high dose of aspirin in each sachet. Such an overdose can do a great deal of damage to your kidneys in just 2-3 days.”
Signs and symptoms of kidney disease are often nonspecific. This means they can also be caused by other illnesses. Because your kidneys are able to make up for lost function, you might not develop signs and symptoms until irreversible damage has occurred.
Make an appointment with your doctor if you have signs or symptoms of kidney disease. Early detection might help prevent kidney disease from progressing to kidney failure.
If you have a medical condition that increases your risk of kidney disease, your doctor may monitor your blood pressure and kidney function with urine and blood tests during office visits. “Know your rights as a patient. Ask your doctor which tests are necessary for you.” Dr Mahlangu advises.
For more information please contact:
Dr Moses Moso Mahlangu, Specialist Nephrologist
MBBCh, MMED, Certificate of Nephrology
Lenmed Zamokuhle Private Hospital
Tel: +27 (0) 10 005 6685
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]
Disclaimer: Any information contained here is merely a guideline. Always visit your healthcare practitioner for any health-related advice or diagnosis.