Chronic Kidney disease in children. Is it life threatening?

Kidney disease is not uncommon among children, and many habits learned by kids can set the stage for kidney health as they get older. You can help your kid(s) protect their kidneys from an early age. The lives of children with serious and long-lasting conditions such as CKD are affected in many ways. 

March 09, 2023 09:02 pm | Updated 09:02 pm IST

1.What is chronic kidney disease?

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), commonly known as chronic kidney failure, is characterized by a progressive decline in kidney function.

Kidneys help filter and remove waste, minerals and fluid from the blood by producing urine. When kidneys lose their function, harmful levels of fluid and waste accumulate in the body, which can raise blood pressure and result in kidney failure. End-stage renal disease occurs when kidneys lose about 90% of their normal function.

2.What causes chronic kidney disease?

Children with cystic dysplastic kidneys, polycystic kidneys, hereditary kidney diseases and chronic glomerular, tubular diseases develop chronic kidney disease (CKD), which is irreversible. Children with CKD may not experience any symptoms until about 80% of kidney function is lost.

3.What are the common symptoms of chronic kidney disease?

If the progression of kidney damage is gradual, signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease appear over time. Loss of kidney function can result in various symptoms depending on how bad it is:

● Nausea and Vomiting

● Loss of appetite

● Sleep problems

● Fatigue and weakness

● Urinating more or less

● Muscle cramps

● Swelling of feet and ankles

● Decreased mental sharpness

● Dry, itchy skin

● High blood pressure

● Shortness of breath

5.What are the risk factors for developing chronic kidney disease?

● Abnormal kidney structure

● Congenital kidney disease

● Heart disease

● High blood pressure

● Obesity

● Family history of kidney disease

● Diabetes

● Frequent use of drugs that can harm the kidneys

6. What are the complications of chronic kidney disease?

● Fluid Retention; can result in hypertension, fluid in the lungs, or oedema in the arms and legs.

● Anemia.

● Elevation waste material in the blood.

● Weak Bones.

● Decreased immune response.

● Stunted growth

7. What are the common tests conducted for the diagnosis of CKD?

For chronic kidney disease screening, the following diagnostic tests are usually advised:

● Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR)

● Complete Urine analysis

● Complete Blood picture

● Blood urea, Serum creatinine and Serum electrolytes

● Ultrasound Abdomen

8. Is chronic kidney disease reversible?

While kidney damage cannot be reversed, it can be slowed down with the right measures. Being physically active, taking prescribed medication, and eating healthy will always help.

9.What are the suggested methods of treatment for chronic kidney disease (CKD)?

A low salt, less oily diet, with restricted non-vegetarian food is recommended. Medication is prescribed to control blood pressure. Calcium and bicarbonate supplements are advised in addition to Erythropoetin and Growth hormone injections to tackle anemia and growth. Children with CKD require dialysis support or kidney transplantation for survival.

10.How many types of dialysis are available to treat CKD.?

There are two forms of dialysis: Hemodialysis and Peritoneal dialysis. In Hemodialysis, the blood is purified outside the body through a Hemodialysis machine. 2-4 hours dialysis sessions are required 2-3 times a week. Peritoneal dialysis uses the body’s own peritoneal membrane to filter the blood.

11.Is kidney transplantation feasible in children?

Nearly all children with end-stage kidney disease will eventually require kidney transplantation. A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure undertaken to place a healthy kidney from a living or deceased donor into a person whose kidneys no longer function properly. Kidney transplantation can use a live donor kidney or cadaveric donor kidney. It gives better quality of life, lowers the risk of death.


Consultant - Pediatric Nephrologist

Rainbow Children’s Hospital, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad

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