Located on the either side of the spine, in shape of the beans and in the size of a fist, kidneys perform the life-sustaining function by filtering the wastes from the bloodstream. Kidneys are probably one of the complex organs next to the brain, heart and liver. Containing about a million nephrons, the functioning filters of the blood, removing the extra fluids, acid produced by cells, and taking care of the water balance, salts, and minerals.
People above 60 are at risk of certain kidney and urinary tract diseases. These kidney conditions can range from simple dysfunction of kidneys to serious complications. However, early detection and medical help can help seniors avoid complications and increase their kidney health.
What are the common kidney diseases in seniors?
Before knowing the types of elderly kidney health issues, kidney health tips, and overall kidney health in seniors, here are a few kidney diseases that are being observed in seniors in India.
- Chronic kidney disease – Known as the most common kidney condition, CKD is a chronic condition caused by high blood pressure.
- Kidney stones – Another common kidney problem in seniors occurred as a result of crystals accumulation in the kidneys. Minerals and other solid substances form solid masses over a period of time. Usually, these stones pass through the urinary tract if they are smaller. However, the passage might cause extreme pain if the stones are big and require medical help.
- Swelling of kidneys – Inflammation of kidneys is one of the most commonly observed issues in seniors. This is caused by glomerulonephritis, a kidney syndrome that injures glomeruli that are instrumental in filtering the blood.
- Urinary tract infections – The urinary tract infection (UTI) can occur in any part of the urinary system that include kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra. Women are at greater risk of an UTIs than men.
- Polycystic kidney disease – This is a genetic disorder that causes cysts that grow in the kidneys. Interfering with the kidney function, this disease can lead to kidney failure.
What are the symptoms of kidney disease?
Most of the kidney diseases are known as silent diseases but a few signs can help you get medical treatment at the right time. Here are a few signs and symptoms of kidney diseases in seniors.
- Pain or discomfort while passing the urine. Sometimes, blood in the urine can also be a symptom of kidney disease.
- Back pain that stays for more than two weeks and puffiness in the legs, particularly the ankle region.
- Changes in the color of urine and unable to maintain the urine stream or inability to empty the bladder.
Other symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite and sleep
- Frequent headaches, and reduced focus
- Metallic taste in mouth, nausea and vomiting
- Giddiness, shortness of breath, bad breath, and itching
Who is at the risk of kidney disease?
Age is one of the risk factors. Here are a few risk factors for age-related kidney disease that you should know right away.
- You have diabetes or hypertension
- You are obese and smoke frequently
- Have a history of kidney issues or failure in the family
- Have been diagnosed with heart attack or stroke or cardiovascular conditions
Apart from that, if you have had a history of acute kidney injury, or kidney issues in the immediate family members, a checkup for kidney functionality and health is duly recommended.
Tips for seniors to keep their kidney healthy:
Periodic medical checkup is the key to keep kidney disease at bay. Most of the assisted living facilities follow this as a compulsory health measure for seniors with diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Take necessary steps to keep your blood sugar level at the recommended readings, and so the blood pressure.
- Reduce salt and sugar intake and prefer whole grains such as whole wheat, brown rice and oats.
- Reduce your weight to the suggested figure and maintain it with a healthy diet and physical activities.
- If you are a smoker, quit smoking as soon as possible and stay away from lifestyle habits such as alcohol consumption.
Other lifestyle choices include staying away from stressful activities. If you could not avoid them, make stress-easing activities such as meditation and yoga.
If you are a senior with kidney disease in immediate family member or if you have already been diagnosed with it, consider Athulya Assisted Living, as the skilled nursing care specialists take care of your condition just the way it should be.