Listen up! People with kidney disease can be at double risk of Covid-19

There have been many studies claiming higher incidence of people with kidney disease contracting Covid-19. Here’s what causes it.

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Dr Partha Karmakar Published on: 16 March 2022, 12:38 pm IST
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Chronic Kidney Disease patients may have more long-term complications of Covid-19. Though it is not known exactly why patients with kidney disease are more at risk for a severe case of Covid-19, it is believed that these patients are typically older and have other chronic illnesses such as diabetes and other health issues that are risk factors for severe Covid-19. Additionally, these patients may also have a weakened immune system.

What are some possible reasons for the increased risk of Covid-19 in patients with kidney disease?

Some patients who developed acute kidney Injury had a slow-paced recovery. People undergoing dialysis could have poor immunity, making it difficult for their body to fight infections. However, it is imperative for kidney patients to continue with their regular dialysis treatments and to be aware and take necessary precautions as recommended by their doctors.

People who have undergone a kidney transplant have to take anti-rejection medicines to protect their kidneys. These anti-rejection medicines work well by keeping the immune system less active, which can make it harder to fight other viruses and infections.

Multiple causes of AKI (Acute kidney injury) exist in Covid-19 disease including those commonly found in critically ill patients.

Though it is still unclear as to why Covid-19 affects the kidneys, there are some possible causes:

1. Kidney structure

Histopathological data are limited, but a wide range of pathological findings have been described in patients with Covid-19. SARS-CoV-2 might display viral tropism and directly affect the kidney.

2. Blood clotting

Kidney biopsies from patients suffering from Covid-19 have shown that in some cases, tiny blood clots are formed. Virus causes direct damage to Endothelial cells leading to clotting and complement activation.

COVID-19 vaccine
Covid-19 may cause blood clotting. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Extreme inflammation

Inflammation can happen when there is an injury to a cell. This is a protective mechanism. However, there are times when the reaction can be extreme and inflammation can have an adverse effect rather than helping it. Systemic inflammation and immunological changes also could play a role in kidney dysfunction with Covid-19 infection.

Kidney involvement in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is common, and can range from leakage of protein and blood to acute kidney injury (AKI) requiring renal replacement therapy (Dialysis). Covid-19-associated AKI (Covid-19 AKI) is associated with high mortality and serves as an independent risk factor for in-hospital death in patients with Covid-19.

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About the Author
Dr Partha Karmakar Dr Partha Karmakar

Consultant Nephrology, Fortis Hospital, Anandapur Kolkata

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