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Showing posts from 2015

Can we create an artificial/mechanical kidney to treat kidney failure?

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THE FUTURE IS HERE.....WELL, ALMOST!
It has been a while since researchers started working on developing prototypes of artificial kidneys that could literally be implanted in to a human suffering from kidney failure. Theoretically, this kind of artificial kidney would replace the functions of a normal human kidney. It would flush the blood of all metabolic toxins, maintain all body electrolytes in the narrow range necessary for all life processes, produce hormones like erythropoietin (that drives the bone marrow to produce red blood cells), activate vitamin D, regulate blood pressure, etc etc. Yes, these are all some of the functions that those miracles of nature sitting in your flanks, your kidneys, are doing right now.

How do you treat excess protein in the urine (proteinuria)?

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I had covered why excess protein in the urine needs to be treated in my earlier post. Lets talk briefly about how we go about achieving that.

Polycystic kidney disease, and future drugs that might treat it

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Earlier, we had talked about kidney cysts, and how they could be present in different disease conditions of varying severity. Lets talk a little about one specific entity characterized by multiple cysts in the kidney, called Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), and some potential treatment options that might pan out in the future.

Treatment Options for Kidney Failure: From Transplantation to Dialysis to Conservative Management...in 10 minutes!

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After I wrote my last post on the treatment options that patients with advanced kidney disease and kidney failure have when it comes to managing their disease, I came across a really nice 10 minute long video on YouTube that pretty much summarizes everything that I wrote in that article. The video goes into options that patients with kidney disease will typically have- dialysis being the most common one, transplantation, and finally not doing anything aggressive and treating it conservatively (I have written on conservative management and what happens when patients refuse dialysis here).  The video also covers questions like when to start dialysis, and the decision making that goes in to deciding who would make a good candidate for home dialysis. All in all, it is a great way in which kidney disease patients and their loved ones can educate themselves. The format is engaging and you won't have to read pages of text that many patients find boring! 
The video has been produced by D…

Sugar Consumption and Chronic Disease: A Brief History of the CardioRenal Epidemic

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One-third of adults in the US are obese. One-third of adults in the US have hypertension. A little under 10% have diabetes.
It wasn't always like this. Not till the very recent past. And I am talking about the early 1900s. What happened to you America?
Sugar may be a big part of the answer to the above question (if not the complete answer). In huge amounts. Cheap and omnipresent. To understand the effects of sugar consumption on health and kidney disease, lets take an interesting detour in to the history of sugar consumption. Once one understands  how sugar's (over)use has grown in parallel with the increasing incidences of heart and kidney disease, diabetes, etc since the eighteenth century, the link between sugar consumption and adverse health consequences becomes clearer.

What Kind of Dialysis is the "Best"? Which Dialysis Modality should I chose if I have Impending Kidney Failure?

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We are years, if not decades away from creating an artificial kidney. Until then, in an ideal world, every patient with advanced stage-5 kidney disease who needs kidney replacement therapy would get a kidney transplant. Unfortunately, kidneys are a scarce and limited resource. The number of people with kidney failure who could use a transplant far outweighs the number of transplants that actually occur every year. As per the latest USRDS Annual Data Report (2013), 17,671 kidney transplants were performed in the United States in 2011 (111 fewer than in 2010). Meanwhile, the waiting list had 90,474 patients in line, as of December 31st of the same year. As you can see, the active waiting list is more than three times larger than the actual supply of donor kidneys. In the light of this stark mismatch, desperate patients have to make a decision about the next best option, dialysis. And the question that any proactive patient will ask, and should ask, is what kind of dialysis is the "…