Maintaining proper hydration levels is a crucial aspect of good health but it often goes overlooked.
People are always advised to take at least eight glasses of water a day but very few actually put the words into practice.
Doctor Mwesigye Edward, an intern says eight glasses of water are needed because dehydration can cause people to feel incoherent, irritable and mentally sluggish.
He adds that a more long term effect of low water consumption is development of kidney stones and digestive problems, which are more prevalent among those who live in warmer climates.
It should be understood that normally, body fluid is replaced throughout the day from the water and salt content of what we eat and drink. But the summer months make it more difficult to maintain a balance because of the higher temperatures and humidity, causing us to perspire more.
This is because as the core body temperature rises, the body attempts to cool itself through perspiration.
The simplest way to check for dehydration is to check urine colour.
It should be clear or pale yellow in colour. If it begins to darken in colour, fluid intake should increase. Other symptoms include dry mouth, thirst, headache, profuse sweating, stiff joints and fatigue.
He points out that it’s best to drink small amounts of fluid throughout the day.
If you consume large amounts of water at once, it will not be absorbed into the body. The kidneys immediately flush out the liquid.
Not only continuous hydration by water that can only save your kidney but there are also other measures needed to put into consideration.
The following aspects should be avoided such as avoid smoking, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy blood pressure and control blood sugar levels if you are diabetic. Also one should avoid excessive use of anti-inflammatory drugs.
The doctor also explains that there other kinds of kidney diseases apart from the kidney stones. There is the acute kidney failure and chronic kidney failure, which are scientifically termed as acute and chronic renal failures respectively.
Renal insufficiency, also called renal failure, is when the kidneys no longer have enough kidney function to maintain a normal state of health.
It is important to learn that the term renal failure is beginning to be replaced by renal insufficiency when in the context of chronic kidney disease.
The acute renal failure is the most dangerous and fatal as compared to chronic renal failure because it kills the patient very fast.
The doctor explains that chronic and acute renal failure stem from different root causes.
The acute renal failure happens rather suddenly where something has caused the kidneys to shutdown.
This may be due to infection, drugs, traumatic injury, major surgery, nephrotoxic poisons and others. In this case, emergency dialysis may be needed until the situation resolves and the kidneys begin functioning again and this might take a short time, months and it might even be permanent.
The chronic renal insufficiency disease develops slowly and gradually, destroys the filtering capacity of the kidneys. It is sometimes referred to as progressive renal insufficiency, chronic kidney disease or chronic renal failure. This kind of damage cannot immediately be repaired, and as such it is irreversible.
The doctor says that a person may have chronic renal failure for many years, even decades, before dialysis or even before a kidney transplant become necessary. Chronic renal insufficiency does not by itself mean complete shutdown of the kidneys.
This is because a person with chronic renal insufficiency may still pass urine normally, and may have more than enough kidney function left for normal functioning of the body.
It should be noted that that a person cannot judge the efficiency of his kidneys by the amount of urine he or she produce. People with quite advanced renal insufficiency and even people on dialysis may still produce a fair amount of urine. But this does not mean that the kidneys are filtering waste nor regulating serum electrolyte levels efficiently.
It should also be understood that chronic renal insufficiency itself causes more loss of kidney function. One important aspect of kidney disease is that once a kidney is damaged by it to a certain degree, it continues to deteriorate even if the underlying kidney disease can or could be cured.
This is commonly referred to as the point of no return and what happens here is that the chronic renal insufficiency continues to progress on its own and kidney function continues to gradually decline.
It’s possible that controlling blood pressure with an ACE inhibitor like ramipril drug or an angiotensin II receptor blocker like Cozaar or Avapro drugs may slow this progression of chronic renal insufficiency.
It is also important to understand that number of patients hospitalized in Rwanda’s referral hospitals have increased in recent years simply because people lack precautionary measures highlighted above to maintain the proper health of their kidney.