World Malaria Day 2022: Home treatment of malaria can affect your kidneys

On World Malaria Day 2022, a doctor tells you about the impact that the disease can have on your kidneys, and how you must take care.

Malaria can have various side effects on your body.
Malaria can have various side effects on your body. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Shruti Tapiawala Published on: 25 April 2022, 09:43 am IST
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Malaria is a life threatening febrile illness which is caused by the bite of a type of female mosquito. Malaria can present as uncomplicated or severe complicated illness. In simple uncomplicated malaria, the affected person suffers from fever with chills or rigors. If diagnosed and treated with antimalarial medications in time, the illness resolves. But home treatment of malaria should be done with caution.

Types of malaria

Simple and uncomplicated malaria may be caused by all varieties of malaria. Common species of parasites or types of malaria are:

* Plasmodium Vivax

* Plasmodium falciparum

The falciparum variety can cause severe complicated malarial illness. The affected person can suffer from cerebral malaria in which patient can present with high grade fever, headaches, drowsiness, seizures (fits) and may also slip into coma. The falciparum malaria can also cause a generalized illness of the body and cause multi-organ dysfunction in which the patient may require to be in ICU and on Ventilator as malaria may also cause severe lung, liver and kidney failure.

Side effects of malaria and how can it affect kidneys

There are various ways in which malaria can affect kidneys acutely. Acute kidney injury or acute renal failure can occur due to severe dehydration from fever, loose motions or vomiting. In severe complicated malaria, kidney injury can happen due to malaria parasites directing attacking the filters in the kidneys.
In cases where malaria has caused multi-organ failure, kidneys may be affected due to low blood pressure and toxins in the body. The patient may sometimes require dialysis temporarily if the patient has suffered severe kidney injury.

Also Read: 7 lifestyle hacks to maintain healthy kidneys

malaria and kidney
Malaria may leave side effects on your kidneys if it is not treated properly. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The best way to prevent the kidney injury is to diagnose and treat malaria early. Home treatments like pain killers for fever and body ache can cause direct injury to the kidneys. Inadequate hydration can also predispose the kidneys to go in shut down in background of malaria. Sometimes the fever may begin as a mild fever and if the patient does not go for tests and does not get treatment started in time, the malaria may start damaging all organs and by the time the diagnosis is made, the kidneys have been damaged.

If alternative therapies other than antimalarials are tried for treatment at home, the risk of damage from alternative therapy in addition to worsening of malaria which can cause severe kidney injury increases.

Tips to keep your kidneys safe if you have malaria

1. Do not take any medications which are not prescribed by a doctor who has seen you in detail prior to prescribing the medications

2. In case of fever, hydrate yourself well and get tested for the cause of fever as treating the cause can save you from complications

3. If malaria has been diagnosed, start treatment immediately under guidance of your doctor

Also Read: Battled dengue or malaria? Follow these 5 diet tips for a speedy recovery

malaria side effects
Follow your doctor’s instructions to the T if you have malaria. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Sometimes, the doctor may suggest admission to the hospital if your symptoms are suggestive of severe or complicated malaria which can require intravenous medications, fluids and supportive care in the hospital and prevent it becoming life threatening. Do not delay, start the required treatment in time.

5. Avoid alternative therapies and strong pain killers in a fever or an established malaria situation as it can rapidly damage kidneys.

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About the Author
Dr Shruti Tapiawala Dr Shruti Tapiawala

Dr Shruti Tapiawala Consultant Nephrologist & Transplant Physician Global Hospitals, Parel, Mumbai

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