Ayurvedic treatment for Kidney Disease in elderly

Kidney Disease in elderly

Know More on Kidney Diseases

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


Kidney Disease in elderly Ayurvedic treatment


The increasing age of the elderly puts them at risk of developing several diseases that deteriorate their quality of life and increase health care burden.  Increasing age is related to impairment or slowing down of functions of organs. The functioning of the kidneys too, is known to slow down after the age of 30.1 

Elderly are at high risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD) due to gradual loss of functioning of the kidneys. In the elderly, there may be no signs of damage initially; hence, symptoms are not seen until the chronic kidney disease has progressed.2

Ayurveda does not have an analogous mention of chronic kidney disease with respect to the elderly, but as per the symptoms seen in the condition, it can be correlated with Mutravaha sroto vikaras (Diseases due to vitiation of Mutravaha srotas or Channels of urinary tract)). 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.3


Kidney Disease in elderly


 Age is the biggest cause for slowing down of metabolism and leading to impaired kidney function. In the elderly, chronic kidney disease is accompanied by multiple other co-morbidities (presence of one or more additional diseases), such as:2

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Inflammation of kidneys
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Enlarged prostate problems
  • Kidney stones
  • Some cancers
  • Recurrent kidney infection


Kidney Disease in elderly


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:2

  • 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


Kidney Disease in elderly


Your doctor will diagnose your condition based on the symptoms your 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 shape and structure
  • Biopsy: To test for any deformity in kidney cells 


Kidney Disease in elderly


Chronic kidney disease is managed by detecting and managing its primary cause, i.e., treating diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney stones, etc. 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, acute kidney failure or mutravaha strotodushti (Pathology of the urinary tract) is primarily managed by:3

  • In general all the urinary disorders (Mutraghat and Mutra Kricchra) are due to vitiation of vata, so medicated enemas (Basti karma and Uttarvasti karma) are indicated in these conditions.
  • Enema therapy (Basti Karma) - 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)

  • Protein: High amounts of protein should be avoided as they may hinder functioning of kidneys. A person on dialysis will need external protein supplementation.
  • Sodium. Sodium should be provided through salt or external fluids as per the age of child and stage of disease. 
  • Potassium. Potassium levels should be observed regularly and ensured that a child does not have a high potassium level causing heart problems. Some fruits and vegetable that are low in potassium nd can be had are apples, pineapple, cabbage, boiled cauliflower etc
  • Avoid high-potassium containing foods such as citrus fruits, melons, bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, spinach etc 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


Kidney Disease in elderly
  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.


Kidney Disease in elderly
  1. Phoon RKS. Chronic kidney disease in the elderly: Assessment and management. AFP. Dec 2012; Vol. 41(12): 940-944
  2. Mayo Clinic. Chronic Kidney disease. Available at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-kidney-disease/home/ovc-20207456 accessed Sept 12th 2016
  3. 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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