Treatments for kidney disease vary, of course, with the type and severity of the problem. Nearly everyone has heard of dialysis and kidney transplants, used in the most extreme cases. That isn’t quite as much as one might think. A 10% reduction in normal kidney function is the standard dividing line for serious renal ailments. But there are many other treatments, particularly for less serious cases.
Prevention remains the best treatment option, of course. A healthy diet, careful sexual practices, and knowledge of the safest genital cleansing habits are among the tools that will help keep kidney problems at bay. But unfortunately, once you have a kidney problem it is past the point at which these can be helpful.
– Dietary Changes
One effect of lowered kidney efficiency is the excess retention of certain proteins like creatinine. A low protein diet can help reduce the amount that the kidneys have to filter out of the blood, requiring them to work less. Lowering the amount of filtering they have to do helps offset their reduced function.
Similarly, reducing the amount of fluids can help. Since one major function of the kidneys is regulate the overall amount (excess fluid in the body increases blood pressure and stresses cell walls), giving them less to handle is beneficial. But this is not helpful in cases of infection, where additional flushing is useful.
An upper urinary tract infection that reaches the kidneys is generally more serious than one in the lower tract (bladder or urethra). They’re more painful and harder to cure. Sometimes just time and ample fluids is enough to let the immune system solve the problem on its own. But even in more worrisome cases a course of antibiotics is usually enough to clear the problem. That may involve a prescription for Levaquin or Macrodantin.
– Underlying Disease
One of the best ways to counteract renal insufficiency (a category of mild to moderately serious kidney ailments) is to treat the underlying disease. Diabetes and a variety of other illnesses produce kidney problems as a secondary effect. Hypertension (high blood pressure) is another problem that can readily stress the kidneys.
Diabetes treatments run the gamut, from dietary changes to insulin in various dosages.
Blood pressure control medicine can help, too, and it comes in various forms, such as ACE(s) and ARB(s). An Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) blocks the enzyme that constricts blood vessels, one way that high blood pressure occurs. An Angiotensin II receptor blocker (ARB) inhibits a different substance that constricts blood pressure. In either case, the relaxation of the blood vessels lowers the pressure, easing the strain on kidneys (which play a role in regulating it).
Research on treatments for kidney disease is reaching new heights. A new class of compounds called CFTR inhibitors shows promise in treating PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease), one of the most common types of genetically induced kidney disease. Also, there are well-advanced experimental programs at UCLA on artificial kidneys worn outside the body. They show promise of eliminating the need for dialysis.
Treatments continue to advance on kidney disease. It may not be too many years before it becomes as rare a problem as influenza, polio, and others that used to kill millions.