• Salil Shukla

Managing Kidney Diseases with Homoeopathy

The kidneys are two organs located on either side of your spine in the middle of your back, just above the waist. They perform several life-sustaining roles: They cleanse your blood by removing waste and excess fluid, maintain the balance of salt and minerals in your blood, and help regulate blood pressure. The kidneys are connected to the urinary bladder by tubes called ureters. Urine is stored in the urinary bladder until the bladder is emptied by urinating. The bladder is connected to the outside of the body by another tube like structure called the urethra.

Healthy kidneys handle several specific roles: • Maintain a balance of water and concentration of minerals, such as sodium, potassium, and phosphorus, in your blood • Remove waste by-products from the blood after digestion, muscle activity, and exposure to chemicals or medications • Produce renin, an enzyme that helps regulate blood pressure • Produce erythropoietin, which stimulates red blood cell production • Produce an active form of vitamin D, needed for bone health

• The main function of the kidneys is to remove waste products and excess water from the blood.

The kidneys process about 200 liters of blood every day and produce about 2 liters of urine. The waste products are generated from normal metabolic processes including the breakdown of active tissues, ingested foods, and other substances. The kidneys allow consumption of a variety of foods, drugs, vitamins and supplements, additives, and excess fluids without worry that toxic by-products will build up to harmful levels. The kidney also plays a major role in regulating levels of various minerals such as calcium, sodium, and potassium in the blood.

• As the first step in filtration, blood is delivered into the glomeruli by microscopic leaky blood vessels called capillaries. Here, blood is filtered of waste products and fluid while red blood cells, proteins, and large molecules are retained in the capillaries. In addition to wastes, some useful substances are also filtered out. The filtrate collects in a sac called Bowman's capsule. • The tubules are the next step in the filtration process. The tubules are lined with highly functional cells which process the filtrate, reabsorbing water and chemicals useful to the body while secreting some additional waste products into the tubule. The kidneys also produce certain hormones that have important functions in the body, including the following: • Active form of vitamin D (calcitriol or 1,25 dihydroxy-vitamin D), which regulates absorption of calcium and phosphorus from foods, promoting formation of strong bone. • Erythropoietin (EPO), which stimulates the bone marrow to produce red blood cells. • Renin, which regulates blood volume and blood pressure.

Causes of Kidney Disease

The most common causes of kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure, and hardening of the arteries (which damages the blood vessels in the kidney). Some kidney diseases are caused by an inflammation of the kidneys, called nephritis. This may be due to an infection or to an autoimmune reaction where the body's immune or defense system attacks and damages the kidneys. Other kidney diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease are caused by problems with the shape or size of the kidneys (anatomic disorders), while other kidney diseases interfere with the inner workings of the kidneys (metabolic disorders). Most metabolic kidney disorders are rare, since they need to be inherited from both parents. Other common causes of kidney failure include certain medications that can be toxic to kidney tissue, and blockages of the system that drains the kidneys (which can occur with prostate problems). Symptoms and Complications of Kidney Disease The symptoms of kidney disease depend on the type of disease that a person has. If the disease is caused by a bacterial infection, the person will develop a high fever. Other signs of kidney disease include passing too much or too little urine, or passing blood or abnormal levels of chemicals in the urine. Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus is a kidney disease in which the kidneys cannot remove enough water from the urine to make it concentrated.

Mild to moderate kidney disease often does not have any symptoms. However, in ERSD or uremia, when the toxins accumulate in a person's blood, symptoms may include: • puffy eyes, hands, and feet (called edema) • high blood pressure • fatigue • shortness of breath • loss of appetite • nausea and vomiting • thirst • a bad taste in the mouth or bad breath • weight loss • generalized, persistent itchy skin • muscle twitching or cramping • a yellowish-brown tint to the skin • urine that is cloudy or tea-coloured

Kidney disease usually does not cause pain, but in some cases pain may occur. A kidney stone in the ureter (a tube leading from the kidney to the bladder) can cause severe cramping pain that spreads from the lower back into the groin. The pain disappears once the stone has moved through the ureter.

Kidney disease can lead to both acute & chronic kidney failure, both of which can be life-threatening. Acute kidney failure happens suddenly within hours to days, whereas chronic kidney failure happens gradually over a period of months to years. Acute kidney failure can often be reversed if the underlying disease is treated. In both conditions, the kidneys shut down and can no longer filter wastes or excess water out of the blood. As a result, poisons start to build up in the blood and cause various complications that can affect various body systems. Chronic kidney failure eventually reaches an end stage. This condition occurs when the kidney is working at less than 10% of full capacity. At this stage, the person will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to be able to go on living. Chronic Kidney Disease Chronic kidney disease occurs when one suffers from gradual and usually permanent loss of kidney function over time. This happens gradually, usually over months to years. With loss of kidney function, there is an accumulation of water, waste, and toxic substances in the body that are normally excreted by the kidney. Loss of kidney function also causes other problems such as anemia, high acidosis (excessive acidity of body fluids), disorders of cholesterol and fatty acids, and bone disease. Stage 5 chronic kidney disease is also referred to as kidney failure, end-stage kidney disease, or end-stage renal disease, wherein there is total or near-total loss of kidney function. There is dangerous accumulation of water, waste, and toxic substances, and most individuals in this stage of kidney disease need dialysis or transplantation to stay alive. Unlike chronic kidney disease, acute kidney failure develops rapidly, over days or weeks. • Acute kidney failure usually develops in response to a disorder that directly affects the kidney, its blood supply, or urine flow from it. • Acute kidney failure is often reversible, with complete recovery of kidney function. • Some patients are left with residual damage and can have a progressive decline in kidney function in the future. • Others may develop irreversible kidney failure after an acute injury and remain dialysis-dependent.

Kidney Disease Diagnosis

Chronic kidney disease usually causes no symptoms in its early stages. Only lab tests can detect any developing problems. Anyone at increased risk for chronic kidney disease should be routinely tested for development of this disease. Urine tests- urinalysis, twenty four hour urine test, Blood tests- creatinine, urea, estimated GFR, electrolyte & acid base balance, blood cell counts Other tests- ultrasound, biopsy Kidney Disease Prevention and Prognosis Chronic kidney disease cannot be prevented in most situations. The patient may be able to protect their kidneys from damage, or slow the progression of the disease by controlling their underlying conditions such as diabetes mellitus and high blood pressure. • Kidney disease is usually advanced by the time symptoms appear. If a patient is at high risk of developing chronic kidney disease, they should see their health care practitioner as recommended for screening tests. • If a patient has a chronic condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, they should follow the treatment recomm-endations of their health care practitioner. The patient should see their health care practitioner regularly for monitoring. Aggressive treatment of these diseases is essential. The patient should avoid exposure to drugs especially NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), chemicals, and other toxic substances as much as possible.

Kidney Disease Prognosis There is no cure for chronic kidney disease. The natural course of the disease is to progress until dialysis or transplant is required. • Patients with chronic kidney disease are at a much higher risk than the general population to develop strokes and heart attacks. • People undergoing dialysis have an overall 5-year survival rate of 32%. The elderly and those with diabetes have worse outcomes. • Recipients of a kidney transplant from a living related donor have a 2-year survival rate greater than 90%. • Recipients of a kidney from a donor who has died have a 2-year survival rate of 88%

General Management

• Bed rest, if severe oedema or infection is present. • High protien diet: 1.5-3 g / kg.body weight (if blood urea is normal). • Salt restriction. • Fluid restriction according to urinary output

Homeopathic Remedies that can help with KIDNEY DISEASES

HOMEOPATHY treats the person as a whole. It means that homeopathic treatment focuses on the patient as a person, as well as his pathological condition. The medicines given below indicate the therapeutic affinity but this is not a complete and definite guide to the treatment of this condition. The symptoms listed against each medicine may not be directly related to this disease because in homeopathy general symptoms and constitutional indications are also taken into account for selecting a remedy. Aconite Incipient stage of post scarlatinal nephritis, pain in loins, scanty urine without blood. Apis Mellifica Apis is not so much a remedy for chronic Bright's disease as for the acuter forms. There are oedematous swellings of the face and extremities, paleness, ascites, oedema pulmonum, pains in the head, back and limbs. Albuminuria following scarlatina. It may be of use in any form of Bright's disease when there are dull pains in the kidneys, scanty urine and frequent Micturition. The urine is heavily charged with albumen and contains blood corpuscles. The oedema appears quickly, there is general dropsy and suppression of urine and perhaps an eruption of the skin like a nettle rash. The patient is drowsy, apathetic and has a bruised feeling all over Apocynum Palliative in dropsical conditions where the urine is scanty. Also useful for coma & convulsions in the nephritis of pregnency. Arsenicum This remedy corresponds to all stages of Bright's disease, bearing a closer resemblance than any other remedy. It comes in later in the disease where there is dropsy, pale skin, waxen appearance, watery diarrhea and great thirst. The urine is dark, casts are abundant, and it contains much albumen. Aurum Muriaticum Morbus Brightii from gout, suppurations or syphilis. Interstitial nephritis in its incipiency with digestive and nervous phenomena, hypochondriasis, irritability and vertigo. Belladonna Simple albuminuria, here it seems to occupy a place midway between Aconite and Arsenicum. Belladonna is of the greatest service in inflammation of the kidneys with piercing burning pains in the lumbar region, returning periodically with increased severity. Cantharis This remedy pictures nephritis with cutting pains in the lumbar region; the urine is passed in drops and is mixed with blood, with much urging. Post scarlatinal and post diphtheric kidney diseases with dropsy may indicate Cantharis. Convallaria Nephritis from heart disorders. It affords relief when there is extreme rapid & irregular action of the heart, and in general anasarca & ascites from mitral insufficiency. Cuprum Arsenicum Cuprum arsenicum is also useful in uraemic conditions and is praised highly by Goodno. Cuprum is a valuable remedy for uraemic eclampsia. Digitalis This remedy has an irritant action on the kidneys. It is homoeopathic to granular degeneration. Heart symptoms, feeble pulse, scanty, dark, turbid urine, faintness at the stomach, rheumatic pains will indicate it. It is especially useful when the circulation is weak. Rheumatic pains, pulmonary catarrh with profuse expectoration are marked symptoms. Glonoine has albuminous urine and will sometimes be found useful in acute and haemorrhagic nephritis. Kali Chloricum This remedy is said to be the most homoeopathic of all remedies in Bright's disease. It has scanty, dark, albuminous urine containing casts. It excites a violent nephritis. Mercurius Corrosivus This remedy corresponds to the large white kidney. There is an albuminous, scanty and red urine; pale waxen color of the body; there are lumbar pains, great dyspnoea and excessive strangury. It takes the first rank among all the mercurials for nephritis, and it comes in the later stages. Plumbum Granular degenerations of the kidneys, with tendency to uraemic convulsion. Dropsy, sallow face, emaciation, oedema about the ankles. Phosphorus produces as marked a nephritis as any drug. It is one of the most important remedies in Bright's disease; the characteristic symptoms are: lassitude of the whole body, hands and feet icy cold, sleepiness. The fatigue is greatest in the morning, and there is heat in the body without thirst, especially in the evening. Terebinth One of our reliable and most frequently indicated remedies in the early stages of renal diseases when congestion is prominent, when there is much pain in the back of a dull character extending along the ureters. The great characteristic of dark smoky urine will be present. There is anasarca, and of course, the urine is bloody and albuminous. It is recommended in post scarlatinal renal affections. The prostration is not accompanied by the restlessness of Arsenicum.

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