10 Myths about kidney diseases debunked!

We all are aware that kidneys are vital organs of our body as they flush out waste, toxins and maintain the fluid balance. Also, we have kind of assumed that kidney diseases happen only to a few people and when they do it’s the end.

Well, that’s not really the case.

We spoke to our team of doctors, patients, their families and healthcare workers. Here we are with 10 myths busted with solid facts about kidney diseases that most of us were unknown to.

Myth-1: Kidney diseases occur rarely.

Fact – With the number of kidney disease cases in India doubled in the last 15 years we would definitely not classify this disease as rare.

If a person is suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure has a family history of kidney disease and if they are above the age of 60 then they are at risk of suffering from kidney problems.

Myth-2: There are no symptoms so maybe it’s not kidney disease.

Fact – This one is very tricky. Most people, unfortunately, are oblivious that they may be suffering from kidney disease as symptoms don’t usually appear in the early stages. They start appearing only at an advanced stage. For people in the high-risk bracket, the best bet is to go for regular check-ups and consult a doctor if required. Early detection can help save the kidneys.

Myth-3: Urine frequency is good so the kidneys are working fine.

Fact – Not necessarily. The kidneys lose their ability to perform optimally very gradually. As they get affected, they start producing urine that has a lot of water but no waste in it. The waste gets accumulated in the blood. So that could be the reason for frequent urination.

But all people who urinate frequently may not have a kidney issue. It could a bladder problem, too.

Myth-4: Kidney function tests are expensive and tedious.

Fact – Kidney disease tests are extremely simple, easy, and inexpensive. 2 basic tests are required.

A urine test to check for protein amount in your urine. Having low protein in the urine is an indication of kidney disease.

GFR (glomerular filtration rate). This is a blood test. Your GFR number shows you how well your kidneys are performing.

Myth-5: People who fall into the risk bracket of kidney disease will get it eventually.

Fact – Even if people are at risk of getting kidney disease, they can avoid it by protecting their kidneys through a healthy lifestyle. This is how-

  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Control blood sugar and hypertension.
  • Manage weight.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Avoid overuse of medication.

Myth-6: Kidneys can be only treated with Dialysis.

Fact – Treatment varies as per what stage the disease is in. Early stages can be managed with medication, diet and a healthy lifestyle. The progression of the disease can be slowed with the above-mentioned interventions and people can lead normal lives. However, if the disease has progressed considerably to kidney failure, the renal failure treatment involves a kidney transplant or dialysis.

Myth-7: Dialysis is a lifelong treatment.

Fact – It depends on the type of kidney disease. As a part of acute renal failure treatment, dialysis is required only for a short period till the kidney can resume its normal functioning. Chronic kidney disease treatment includes dialysis for kidneys to function till a kidney transplant.

Myth-8: Two kidneys are required to survive.

Fact – We all are born with 2 fist-sized kidneys to carry out the function of filtering waste and balancing the fluid levels in our body. If we donate one kidney or lose it to cancer, kidney stones, infection, or a chronic kidney disease then one kidney that remains in the body can carry out the essential functions of both the kidneys.

Myth-9: Drinking 8 glasses of water can help kidneys flush out all the toxins from the body.

Fact – This hasn’t been medically proven as yet. The intake of water largely depends on thirst and the body’s requirements. But an important point to be noted here is that patients with kidney diseases are advised to reduce their fluid and salt intake as it can cause fluid retention, breathlessness and swollen ankles.

Myth-10: Continuation of treatment is not required if a patient feels fine.

Fact – Many patients begin to feel fine after the treatment hence they tend to discontinue the medications or treatment or aren’t consistent. This can accelerate the progression of the disease and worsen the condition of the kidneys leading to frequent dialysis or an early transplant. In fact, post-surgery, Nephro rehab plays a very significant role in the management of the condition and has helped patients considerably to recover well and lead normal lives. Hence it is very crucial to complete the treatment process.

FAQs

What are some interesting facts about kidneys?

An average kidney is the size of a cellphone and weighs approximately 4-5 ounces.
The kidney accounts for only 0.5% of the body weight but it has maximum blood supply as compared to all organs except the liver.
It contains millions of filtering units called nephrons to flush out waste and extra fluids from the body. When a human loses one kidney they lose only 2.5% of the total kidney function and the other kidney sustains the functions adequately.

What is the number one cause of kidney disease?

Untreated and unmanaged diabetes is the most common cause of kidney disease.

What disease kills your kidneys?

High blood pressure and diabetes are the 2 main diseases that damage your kidneys.