They come as a pair, yet one is not a spare of the other.
Kidney failure is one of the leading causes of illness in Kenya, which explains why transplants have become a common medical procedure in the country.
However, you and I can protect these twins that are so critical for our wellbeing. Let’s have a look a how to ensure that they serve us optimally and longer. So, here, the major conditions that cause kidney disease in Kenya
1: Untreated skin and throat conditions
The beta haemolytic streptococcus bacteria, when it infects the skin and throat, sends molecules to the kidney to form immune complexes that destroy the organ. Dr E N Kamuri, a dermatologist, points out that when some skin conditions remain untreated, they contribute to loss of proteins, hence kidneys react. These skin conditions include severe eczema, some fungal and bacterial infections, some forms of skin cancers and Kaposi’s sarcoma.
“When you have a skin infection, you have no protection, thus losing water to the environment causes dehydration and shock, eventually leading to kidney failure,” Dr Kamuri notes. Dr Mbira Gikonyo, an ear, nose and throat specialist, adds that a throat infection, if left untreated, can complicate and cause kidney failure.
“Once an infection affects the throat, it causes an inflammation in the blood vessels of kidneys and the kidneys begin to fail,” Dr Mbira says, adding that the most sore throats are caused by viruses, most commonly a cold or flu virus, and should be treated urgently.
In addition, the patient should strictly adhere to treatment. Strep throat is treated using antibiotics and, if left untreated, may cause serious heart and kidney complications. The response of a person’s immune system to a strep throat infection might also cause inflammation of the kidneys. Dr Mbira advises that due to the potential for serious complications, strep throat should be treated as soon as possible.
2: Lupus (lupus erythematosus)
This refers to a condition of the immune system where the body attacks the kidney as if it were foreign tissue.
3: Nephrotic syndrome
Nephrotic syndrome is the excessive passage of protein in the urine, leading to low amounts of the nutrient in the blood, which makes the body swell. The syndrome is caused by abnormalities of the blood filtering unit, which is supposed to remove protein as waste.
PS: All the above cause glomerulonephritis, which is the most common cause of chronic kidney disease in the country, and refers to the inflammation of the kidney.
When you suffer from glomerulonephritis, the part of your kidneys that helps filter waste and fluids from the blood is damaged and is characterised by damage to the kidney’s filtering units, which result in the appearance of protein and/or blood in the urine.