Atrophic kidney is the term used to describe the shrinking of the kidney; the shrinking can be in one or both of the kidneys. The size of the kidney can affect its function. When you find one kidney or both kidneys shrinking, it is an indication of the dysfunction of the kidneys. When a kidney shrinks, the condition may lead to uraemia or renal insufficiency. At the start of atrophic kidney, the patient does not exhibit any symptoms; it is only when the function goes below 50% when one begins to feel the effects.
Symptoms of atrophic kidney
Atrophic kidney is caused by several underlying causes, therefore the symptoms will be different from one person to the next. However, here are some of the most common symptoms exhibited by patients suffering from this condition:
- The need to urinate frequently
- There will be pain when urinating
- There will blood present in the urine
- There is some nausea and vomiting
- The patient will be fatigued all the time
- The skin will itch
- High blood pressure
Causes of atrophic kidney
The common causes of atrophic kidney fall into three distinct categories – congenital renal dysplasia, end stage kidney disease and chronic pyelonephritis.
Congenital renal dysplasia
This is brought about when there is a low blood supply during the embryonic period due to obstruction or other reason. The renal tissue fails to develop properly leading to the development of a hypo-genetic kidney, which is less than 50% of the normal kidney size.
End stage kidney disease
This is caused by high levels of urea nitrogen and serum creatinine. The nephrons, which are the functional tissues in the kidney, are damaged and the kidney shrinks.
This is brought about by the obstruction of the urinary tract, which creates high levels of pressure in the tissues, arteries and veins of the kidney. This brings about sever damage to the nephrons of the kidney, and hence the kidney shrinks.
Treatment of atrophic kidney
Before the doctor can prescribe any treatment, the underlying causes of the atrophic kidney have to be determined. The doctor will order an MRI and a CT scan, so he can be sure.
Stem cell therapy
Stem cells have been used to treat several difficult conditions and the same applies in this case. They are injected into the damaged kidney and new cells are developed to replace the damaged ones. Today, CIK and interleukin-12 are used in the treatment of atrophic kidney.
Micro-Chinese Medicine Osmotherapy
This is a treatment method based on Chinese medicine. Using an osmotic device, Chinese medicines are used to permeate the skin and enter the lesion in the kidney. The medicines then dilate the vessels in the kidney, which allows more oxygen and nutrients to enter the nephrons. Some of the ingredients used in this treatment have an anti-inflammatory effect and this reduces the inflammation of the nephrons. These medicines have the cumulative effect of reducing the damaging of the renal cells and help in recovery.
Diet plan for people suffering from atrophic kidney
People who suffer from atrophic kidney have to make several changes to their lifestyles. One of these is the types of foods that they eat. Here is a simple diet plan for people suffering from this condition.
People suffering from atrophic kidney should reduce the amount of protein that they take. It is advised that they take low-quality protein.
Patients are no supposed to take animals fats. Instead they should take unsaturated fatty acids such as flaxseed oil and fish oils.
In order to maintain their normal body weight, patients are supposed to take a lot of calories. The maintenance of normal body weight is crucial in the fight against the disease.
Minerals and vitamins
The dysfunction of the kidney will affect the mineral and vitamin levels in the body. The body may suffer from a lack of iron, which may bring about anaemia. They may also lack vitamin D which will affect calcium absorption in the body. Patients are therefore supposed to supplement their vitamins and minerals.
Apart from changing their diet plans, atrophic kidney patients should also have changes to their lifestyles.
- Those who drink and smoke should stop immediately, or seek ways to stop
- They should try a live a well-balanced life
- Exercise is advised since it improves the overall health of the body
- The patients should take great care not to get infections, especially the flu
- The patient should go for regular health checkups from their doctor
Atrophic kidney is a condition that can affect the quality of your life for a long time. However, there are ways that you can manage it, and it can also be treated. Ensure that you live a good lifestyle and avoid developing this condition.