Myths and facts about kidney diseases


MYTH 1: All types of kidney diseases are irreversible.

FACT: No. Acute kidney injury is potentially reversible if detected early and treated adequately.


MYTH 2: All types of kidney diseases are serious in nature.

FACT: Not all kidney diseases are aggressive in nature. Few worsen relatively slowly and may take many years. However kidney biopsy is needed to establish diagnosis accurately.


MYTH 3: In kidney failure, only one kidney fails.

FACT: No. Actually kidney failure means that both the kidneys together are functioning to less than 10% of their original capacity. Even if one kidney is normal then blood levels of creatinine and urea dont increase and patient remains mostly asymptomatic.


MYTH 4: Swelling of body means kidney failure.

FACT: No. Swelling of body can be caused by other diseases too (ex: heart disease). In kidney diseases too, swelling can be seen even if kidney functions  are normal but patient has significant loss of protein in urine (>500mg/day). This protein loss in urine can lead to kidney failure in future if it is not investigated and treated promptly.


MYTH 5: All kidney disease patients have swelling of body parts.

FACT: No. Generally patients with diabetes, hypertension and protein loss in urine have swelling of body but some kidney disease patients may not have swelling because the cause of their kidney disease may be different. This doesnt mean that they have benign disease. Infact absence of symptoms may lead to diagnosis of kidney disease in late stages.


MYTH 6: If kidney functions are ok then treatment is not needed.

FACT: In patients with diabetes, hypertension, kidney diseases due to protein loss in urine, treatment to reduce protein loss in urine has to be continued on long term basis so that progression to kidney failure can be minimised.


MYTH 7: Mild rise in blood creatinine is acceptable.

FACT: Normal blood level upper limit for creatinine is 1.2 mg/dl in women and 1.4 mg/dl in men and 0.8 mg/dl in pregnant women. If blood creatinine level is 1.6 mg/dl then it actually means that kidney function is reduced by 50% and if creatinine levels are 2 mg/dl then kidney function is reduced by 70%. If creatinine levels are 5 mg/dl, then kidney function is reduced by 90%.


MYTH 8: Once dialysis in kidney disease starts, then it is life long.

FACT: No. In acute kidney injury patient’s dialysis can be stopped after recovery of renal functions either partially or completely. Even in chronic kidney disease sometimes sudden and transient renal function worsening may occur which may subside with dialysis for a short period.


MYTH 9: Kidney donation cant be done across gender.

FACT: Male and female can donate kidney voluntarily to their family member if blood group is compatible.


MYTH 10: Kidneys can be bought or procured from any one outside family.

FACT: As per human organ transplantation act, only blood/legal related family members (father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter, and wife/husband) can give kidney donation to their family members. It is illegal and criminal to try to buy kidneys from outside family.


MYTH 11: In kidney disease with hypertension, after control of BP with drugs, medicines can be stopped if there  are no symptoms.

FACT: No medication for BP control is lifelong and stopping medicines can lead to complications like kidney failure, heart failure, stroke etc.


MYTH 12: Indigenous medicines have cure for kidney disease whereas Allopathy only controls it.

FACT: World wide drugs whose doses, effects, side effects are clearly studied by trials on sufficient number of patients, only they have been accepted in Allopathy medicine (evidence based medicine). Indigenous systems of medicine dont have adequate of medicine dont have proof of their efficacy. It is dangerous to use medicines whose utility isnt proven in kidney diseases and are based on faith only.

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