Ayurvedic treatment for Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic Kidney Disease

Know More on Kidney Diseases

  • Definition
  • Causes
  • Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • FAQS
  • References

Definition

Chronic Kidney Disease Ayurvedic treatment

Chronic kidney disease (CKD), is the slow and gradual loss of functioning of the kidneys. Due to this, toxic wastes start building up in the body leading to failure of kidney functions and creating toxicity in the body.1

Since there may be no signs of damage in early stages of CKD, symptoms are usually not seen until the CKD has progressed.1

Ayurveda does not have a similar mention of CKD, but as per the symptoms seen in the condition, it can be correlated with upadrava of mutravikara (obstruction in passage of urine or due to urinary infections) / upadrava of prameha(complications of Diabetes. In this condition, the formation of urine is hampered due to vitiation of vata dosha, resulting in minimal or no urine production in the body.2

Causes

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic Kidney Disease happens due to any secondary conditions that impair the functioning of the kidneys over a period of time.1

Some of these secondary conditions are:1

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Inflammation of kidney’s filtering units, tubules and surrounding structures
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Prolonged obstruction because of Kidney stones,enlarged prostate, cancer etc
  • Recurrent kidney infectioBack flow of urine due to reflux

Symptoms

Chronic Kidney Disease

The signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease may not be seen until late stages of the disease develop. Some common symptoms that are seen then include:1

  • Pain in the abdomen area
  • Frequent urge for urination
  • Frequent instances of urination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low urine production
  • Itching in the body
  • High blood pressure
  • Fatigue & weakness

Diagnosis

Chronic Kidney Disease

Your doctor will diagnose your condition based on the symptoms you present. Additionally, your doctor may also recommend some other tests if early stage or late stage chronic kidney disease is suspected. These include:1

  • Blood tests: to test of creatinine and urea levels
  • Urine tests: to test for toxic products and quantity
  • Imaging: to test for size and structure
  • Biopsy: To test for any deformity in kidney cells

Management

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease is managed by detecting and managing its primary cause, i.e., treating diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney stones, etc.

  • Medications will be prescribed to control potassium levels in the blood and to restore blood calcium levels
  • Medications to treat anemia
  • A low protein diet to minimize waste products in the blood
  • Medications to lower cholesterol

 Once kidney disease has progressed, the only two options available are:1 

  • Renal or kidney dialysis- It is a life support system that uses a special machine to filter out harmful wastes and fluids from your blood
  • Renal or kidney transplant- A surgery to replace the non-functioning kidney from the body with a healthy kidney from a matching donor

In Ayurveda, chronic kidney disease or mutravikara upadrava/ prameha upadrava (Pathology of the urinary tract) is primarily managed by:2

  • In general, this condition is due to Vata dosha vitiation. In Vata disorders best line of treatment will be Basti karma.
  • Enema therapy (Basti Karma) –Especially, Uttara basti (Medicated enema given through urinary tract) to cleanse the accumulated toxins from the body and provide a thorough detox. This helps to eradicate the vitiated or aggravated doshas that may have led to kidney complications

Additionally, Ayurveda also recommends a combination of healthy diet (ahar) and lifestyle changes (vihar) in order to manage the condition effectively. These include:

Diet Recommendations (Aahar)

Purana Shali (Old rice), Kushmanda (White gourd), Patola (pointed gourd), Talaphala (Toddy palm), Urvaru (Cucumber), Khajura etc. may be useful 

  • Increase intake of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Avoid foods that lead to indigestion
  • Avoid the following in your diet
    • Meat – especially sea food
    • Heavy foods
    • Excess salt
    • Astringent foods

Lifestyle changes (Vihar)

  • Avoid excessive exercise as that may lead to physical and mental stress
  • Avoid suppressing urges to urinate, etc

FAQS

Chronic Kidney Disease
  1. How does stones form in our kidneys?

Many a times, kidney stones will not have a single cause, and there could be several factors that increase its risk. Higher concentration of crystal-forming substances in the urine — such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid can cause crystallization of these salts. Additionally, lack of substances in urine which will prevent crystal formation end up creating the perfect environment for formation of kidney stones.

  1. What is pyelonephritis?

The infection of the kidney is medically termed as pyelonephritis. It is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) that usually starts from the lower organs such as the urethra or urinary bladder and gradually moves up to the kidneys. Such infections need immediate medical attention as if left untreated they can cause  permanent damage to the kidneys.

  1. How does CKD develop?

CKD happens due to any secondary condition that impairs the functioning of the kidneys over a period of time. Some of these secondary conditions are-

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Inflammation of kidneys
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Enlarged prostate problems, kidney stones
  • Some cancers
  • Recurrent kidney infection
  1. Do children suffer from kidney disease? How?

Children can get affected with many kidney related diseases. The commonest of these are either an acute kidney disease or chronic long term disease.1 Having a kidney disease can mean treatable disorders without long-term consequences to life-threatening conditions in children. 

As in adults, the causes of kidney disease in children are various secondary conditions of situations, which will impair the functioning of the kidneys over a period of time. Some of these secondary conditions are -

  • Developmental defects of birth
  • Any serious infection
  • Any hereditary condition
  • Any serious major diseases
  • Trauma
  • Blockage of urine
  1. What is acute kidney failure? How is it different form chronic failure?

Acute kidney failure means that the kidneys are unable to filter any waste products from the body and this condition develops rather quickly. Due to the failure of the kidneys to filter blood, dangerous levels of waste accumulates in the body causing severe toxic conditions.Chronic kidney failure on the other hand develops gradually over a few weeks, months or even years.

  1. How does a high BP affect the kidneys?

The condition of having a high blood pressure over a long period of time is known to cause damage to the blood vessels of the kidneys. This damage results in a reduced ability of the kidneys to perform their functions. This is because a high blood pressure requires the blood vessels inside the kidneys to stretch more than usual. Over a period of time the tiny blood vessels of the kidneys start showing scars due to stretching, leading to various kidney diseases. 

  1. What is proteinuria how is it caused?

Proteinuria simply means the presence of ‘protein’ in the urine. This is mostly indicative of poor functioning of the kidneys whereby the proteins are being leaked in to the urine and thrown out of the body. While some amount of protein is found in urine, the quantity increase in kidney damage.

The causes of proteinuria are physiological (meaning temporary), such as after exercise, cold climate, fevers etc; as well as pathological (due to an underlying condition) such as diabetes, kidney tumors, heart disease, liver failure etc.

  1. Why do we have anemia in a kidney disease?

Kidneys perform many important functions apart from filtering he blood. One such vital activity is production of a substance called EPO (Erythropoeitin) which is essential for manufacture of new red blood cells. As the functions of kidneys are hampered in kidney disease, the production of EPO gets affected and results in low RBC production and hence anemia. In advanced stage of kidney disease, where hemodialysis is required, blood loss during hemodialysis also results in anemia.

  1. What is hydronephrosis?

Hydronephrosis refers to the swelling of a kidney that occurs due to accumulation of urine in them. For some reasons, due to a blockage or obstruction of the ureters, the urine being formed in the kidneys cannot move out and gets retained inside the kidneys leading to swelling of the kidneys. This can happen either in any one or both of the kidneys. 

  1. Why are women more prone to getting a UTI?

Women are more likely than men to get an UTI. This is because of the shorter length or the urethra - that allows infections to travel upwards quickly. Additionally, in women, due to close proximity of the anal opening  and the urethral opening, many GI tract infections (Such as those caused by E. coli) spread to the urinary tract.

References

Chronic Kidney Disease
  1. Mayo Clinic. Chronic Kidney disease. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-kidney-disease/home/ovc-20207456 accessed Sept 12th 2016
  2. Aswale S et al. A case Discussion On CRF (Mutraghat) Treated With Kshar Basti And Mansaras Basti. Int J Ayur Alt Med. 2015; Vol. 3(1): 60-63

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