Kidney diseases are caused when your kidneys malfunction and do not filter the blood like they should. While kidney diseases are generally associated with alcohol consumption, there can be many other causes of them. The cases of kidney diseases in children are on the rise lately, which is concerning. Both acute and chronic kidney diseases can have long-term impacts that would affect the quality of life. In this article, Dr. Sujit Chatterjee, CEO of Dr. L H Hiranandani Hospital, explains all about kidney diseases in children.
Kidney diseases in children can have potentially fatal consequences. While acute kidney diseases occur unexpectedly, chronic kidney diseases develop over time. Acute kidney diseases can be managed with proper treatment but chronic kidney disease(CKD) may require critical treatment including dialysis and kidney transplantation. Parents must be watchful towards unusual signs that kids may give such as infrequent urination, blood in urine, low haemoglobin, frequent abdominal pain, etc. These are initial signs of kidney diseases that may aggravate in the absence of timely treatment.
Symptoms of chronic kidney diseases in children include:
- Poor appetite
- High blood pressure
- Problem in concentrating
- Delayed development of language and motor skills
Causes of acute renal failure in children
- Reduced blood flow to the kidneys: This could occur due to a surgery, blood loss or septic shock
- Obstruction to the urinary tract
- Consumption of certain drugs that damage kidneys
- Diseases that obstruct blood flow and hamper kidney functions
- Hemolytic uremic syndrome in which veins inside the kidneys are constricted
Causes of chronic renal failure
- Recurrent urinary tract infection or UTI in children
- Birth defects like ectopic kidney and renal dysplasia
- Blockage in urinary tract, which can cause reflex
- Nephrotic syndrome, which is a condition caused due to low blood protein, low protein in urine, increased LDL cholesterol
- Polycystic kidney disease in which fluid-filled cysts are produced in the kidneys.
Treatment of kidney diseases in children
Treatment of a kidney disease can be provided on the basis of the condition. Parents must consult a paediatrician or kidney disease specialist as soon as they notice symptoms of kidney diseases in children. In most cases, doctors first prescribe diuretics to increase urine, which might improve kidney functions. Besides, they may also suggest other treatments according to the symptoms. Diet modification is also required to improve kidney health especially in the case of acute kidney failure. These can prevent onset of chronic kidney disease which can have lifelong negative impact.
Managing the underlying causes of kidney disease in children is also crucial. If the causes are managed, the diseases can be easily treated and its advance stage can be prevented. Management includes treating septic shock, taking steps to prevent recurrence of UTI, taking steroids for nephrotic syndrome and taking antibiotics to manage other underlying issues. Parents must be vigilant and report any unusual signs to a doctor for timely diagnosis and treatment.
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