KIDNEY DISEASE affects approximately three million people across the UK – but experts warn few know the symptoms of the disease and what can cause it. Despite the fact that approximately 3 million people across the UK have kidney disease, awareness and understanding about the condition is still low experts have said.
There are many common misconceptions surrounding who is at risk, what symptoms to look out for and treatments for the condition.
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Many people with kidney disease are in the dark when it comes to what to expect, with up to a one million people going completely undiagnosed. Dr Charlie Tomson, consultant nephrologist at Newcastle Hospitals and Kidney Research UK Trustee has separated some of the most common myths from the facts when it comes to kidney disease, in order to help people spot the key signs they should be looking out for.
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Dr Tomson said: “Kidney disease, in some cases, is a ‘silent killer’. “This is because symptoms often don’t materialise until the disease is in its more severe stages.
“The human body is usually able to cope with a significant reduction in kidney function, and therefore, problems aren’t always spotted early on. However, there are some key warning signs to be aware of that can characterise kidney disease.
“These include swollen ankles/ feet / hands, shortness of breath, blood and/ or protein in your urine, fatigue, an increased need to go to the toilet, and back pain in the renal area. If you are concerned about any of these symptoms it’s highly important to seek medical advice as soon as possible.”
Kidney disease could be linked to diet – FACT
Dr Tomson said: “Eating a healthy and balanced diet is important for all of us. However, when it comes to kidney disease, a good diet can have a huge impact on the disease and prevent complications. Staying at a healthy weight and eating a diet low in salt and fat can help control your blood pressure, one of the main causes of kidney disease.
“When kidney disease reaches its later stages, patients are likely to work closely with a dietitian to help manage their symptoms.”
There are multiple causes of kidney disease – FACT
Dr Tomson said: “Kidney disease has multiple causes, and often a combination of factors can lead to an individual developing it.
“In some cases, long-term conditions which put a strain on the kidneys, such as poorly controlled blood pressure and diabetes, are the root cause.
“Other potential factors which can trigger kidney disease include large kidney stones, glomerulonephritis (kidney inflammation), and injury to the kidneys.” express