Can Kidney Problems Concern Children Too? Learn More

Can Kidney Problems Concern Children Too? Learn More

World Kidney Day is celebrated every year on 10th of March worth the sole aim of spreading awareness and supporting people suffering from any kidney disease. This year the World Kidney Day theme has focused itself on kidney diseases in children and it couldn’t be more appropriate.

As shocking as it is, kidney diseases affect children in various ways ranging from treatable disorders without long-term consequences to life threatening conditions.

The kidneys play a critical role for our body, acting as the body’s filtering system. They help control our water levels and eliminate the wastes discarded by the body. They also help regulate blood pressure, red blood cell production and the levels of calcium and minerals. Our overall well-being is greatly reliant on the health of our kidneys.

However kidney diseases often go undetected in the adults and in case of children the symptoms are much vaguer making it all the more difficult to detect. The symptoms to look for in children include:

  1. Swelling of limbs
  2. Puffiness around the eyes
  3. Decrease in appetite
  4. Decreased or increased frequency of urination
  5. Frequent headaches
  6. Nausea, vomiting, weakness & fatigue

There are many causes that lead to kidney diseases so early in the life however the leading known reason could be the family history of kidney diseases. Some of the other causes could be:

  1. Birth defects
  2. Infection
  3. Nephrotic syndrome
  4. Systemic diseases
  5. Trauma
  6. Urine blockage or reflux

Kidney problems progress with loss in kidney function and total kidney failure. Hence early detection and treatment is crucial, if not to reverse but at least to preserve the viable kidney. In this process, along with medical treatment, nutrition management also becomes important.

The food that the children eat reflects on how well their kidneys will function. Expert help and proper information regarding the required dietary changes is essential to restore the health of the kidneys. We have listed certain nutrients that are found in every day foods which are essential but at the same time need to be limited to help your kidneys work better.

  • Protein: Children with kidney diseases should eat adequate amounts of proteins for proper growth but at the same time not go overboard. Too much protein puts an extra burden on the kidneys and causes kidney function to decline faster. Include high biological value proteins to your child’s diet to promote growth and lessen the burden on the kidneys such as eggs, milk, cheese, chicken, fish, red meats, beans, yogurt and cottage cheese.
  • Sodium: Sodium affects our body fluids and blood pressure. Adding or limiting sodium and salt in the diet depends on the stage of the kidney disease. However controlling high salt or sodium in food generally will help your kid’s health positively in the long run. Avoid snacks like chips and crackers, canned foods, frozen foods and most of the processed foods.
  • Potassium: Potassium levels need to stay in the normal range for children with kidney diseases, because too little or too much potassium can lead to heart and muscle problems. While certain fruits, vegetables and pulses are high in potassium and need to be reduced, you can easily replace them with low potassium and healthier alternatives like papaya, watermelon, bottle gourd, certain dals, strawberries or cabbage.
  • Phosphorus: Healthy kidneys help regulate the level of phosphorus in your blood by removing extra phosphorus. If your kid’s kidneys aren’t working properly, eventually they may have high phosphorus levels in their blood. A high phosphorus diet for a child could mean the phosphorous leeching out the calcium from the bones. This makes them soft and vulnerable to break. Make sure your child follows a low phosphorous diet by limiting fast foods, convenience foods and processed foods.
  • Fluids: Kidney problems in children may produce either too much or too little urine, which can lead to swelling or dehydration. If the kidney problems advance, limiting fluid intake becomes important. Too much fluid is dangerous as it can cause high blood pressure, swelling and heart failure. Extra fluid can also build up around your lungs making it hard to breathe. In such cases, to help quench the thirst, let your child chew some gum, mint or candy.

Kidney problems at a young age can bring many dangers to the adult life. So make sure to follow a strict diet that will help release the stress on the kidneys and assist in the healing process. This World Kidney Day ensure to protect these filters of life and keep yourself and your children hale and hearty.
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