Women are at a higher risk of kidney diseases. Know 6 tips to keep them healthy

Chronic kidney disease is more common among women than men, yet lack of awareness leads to its delayed diagnosis.

diabetes and UTIs
Here’s why women are at higher risk of getting kidney disease. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Atul Ingale Published on: 24 April 2022, 10:30 am IST
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Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can have life-altering outcomes and is a primary concern among the Indian population today. This is because lifestyle changes, including improper diet and lack of exercise, are causing conditions that were previously observed mainly in older people – now, even young people are getting affected and impacted by these conditions.

How prevalent is chronic kidney disease?

According to the National Kidney Foundation, 10 percent of the population in the world is affected by CKD, and millions die each year because they do not have access to affordable treatment. This is also because treatment with Dialysis or Kidney transplantation creates a substantial financial burden for most people who need it, and many people cannot afford it, especially in developing countries. The financial burden and economic disparity are also key reasons why women (even though they suffer from the condition equally, if not more) have worse outcomes for the disease. There is a lack of awareness and financial independence to seek treatment.

signs of poor kidney health
Don’t ignore early signs of kidney problems. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Further, while lifestyle choices can result in chronic kidney disease, having a family history puts you at a higher risk. People suffering from CKD are also at an increased risk for hypertension and heart-related issues like stroke or cardiac arrests.

Why are women more prone to chronic kidney disease?

Although some reports suggest that the incidence of chronic kidney disease is higher in women, the main reason for this is limited awareness and access to proper care, especially in third world countries. When awareness is low for the condition, it will result in a late diagnosis of the disease, and thus generate poor outcomes. Women are also more likely to develop kidney disease because they are prone to Lupus and Kidney infection, raising the number of CKD infections. A word of advice – if a woman is pregnant or planning a pregnancy, it is best to consult a specialist to rule out kidney issues. CKD can complicate the pregnancy process and sometimes even cause high-risk pregnancies. Sometimes, pregnancy induced Hypertension (PIH) or Toxemia of pregnancy leads to CKD.

So, what are the symptoms of kidney disease?

Although CKD does have specific symptoms, that too in later stages, most of them are not diagnosable until the condition becomes quite advanced. However, if a person has been experiencing fatigue, poor appetite, swelling of feet, or puffiness around the eyes for more than a day or two, they must get tested. Early detection and prognosis are the best way to prevent the condition from worsening because when CKD worsens, it can lead to Kidney failure and even death.

diabetes patients
Early diagnosis can stay protected against kidney disease. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

How is chronic kidney disease diagnosed?

Kidney disease is detected through various methods. First is the urine test that checks for the presence of the Albumin protein, as too much of this kind of protein can indicate signs of Kidney damage. The second method uses age, gender, and blood test to check Creatinine levels as they can measure Kidney function and the extent of the damage caused to the Kidney, if any.

How to keep your kidneys healthy?

The best way to prevent chronic kidney disease is to ensure good lifestyle habits. If a person has a pre-existing health condition like high blood pressure or high blood sugar, they must take steps to control the same. Some other helpful tips include the following:

  1. Regular exercise and staying active can play a crucial role in not just maintaining healthy Kidneys, but also keeping your weight in check which is essential for good health.
  2. Keep your blood pressure in check as extra glucose (sugar) in your blood forces your Kidneys to work extra hard to filter your blood.
  3. Eat a healthy diet and focus on eating fresh ingredients that are naturally low in Sodium and are cooked at home.
  4. Drink water regularly as consistent water intake is healthy for your Kidneys, and it is best to aim for at least 1-2 liters every day.
  5. Limit and eliminate smoking and alcohol intake.
  6. Do not consume too much of OTC medicines, including Ibuprofen and Naproxen – they can damage a person’s kidneys, especially when they are taken regularly for chronic pain, headaches, or Arthritis.

If you suffer from these conditions, it is best to consult a doctor so that they can advise you about a treatment plan that is synced with the health and overall well-being of a person

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About the Author
Dr Atul Ingale Dr Atul Ingale

Nephrologist and Transplant Physician and Director, Dept. of Nephrology, Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi

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