Kidney week: even if 6 million French are concerned, kidney failure is too often ignored

Kidney failure is ignored for too long, and "National Kidney Week", which runs from March 3 to 10, 2018, is a good opportunity to think about this vital organ that is particularly silent. The diagnosis is often made at the stage of end-stage renal failure. With the kidney, prevention is better than cure and advice to preserve your kidney.

It is always said that the liver is the prince of the organism, because even destroyed at 3/4, he continues his work as if nothing had happened. This is to forget another organ that is not much talked about, just as essential, and that ensures a life almost normal, even when it is 95% destroyed. It's the kidney.

And as nature has rewarded us with 2 kidneys, we have a central purification of the body of such a performance that man has never been able to reproduce in the treatment plants he was able to build.

A role of filtration and purification of blood toxins

We often think about what is the simple phenomenon of digestion and the provision of energy and nutrients to all the cells of our body. After a fairly rapid passage of food in the stomach, it is in the intestine that the first work of assimilation occurs. This is where the energy elements go in the blood.

It is not limited to driving wherever it is needed. This same blood circulation is charged, after having deposited the essential elements in the cells, to take back the residues of the normal functioning of these same cells. To clean this blood, two organs: the liver and, especially, the 2 kidneys, in which enters a blood loaded with waste and which leaves completely purified.

A central blood purification plant

The kidney looks like an ultra sophisticated and microscopic purification plant. It is for example the kidney that controls the acidity of the blood. A data of course vital ... The kidney also controls the concentration of sodium and potassium, essential elements for the normal functioning of our body.

The kidney thus has a blood purification system and its own transport system for the elimination of unnecessary products: this is called urine. It also has a system of reabsorption of substances essential to the internal balance of the body.

But the work does not stop there. It produces essential substances and hormones, some of which are used to make red blood cells, which are responsible for carrying oxygen in the body, and others that serve to regulate our blood pressure.

Preserve your kidney

So we understand that when the kidney is gone, nothing goes. This is called kidney failure. Like all organs, it does not like hypertension, diabetes, tobacco or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ...

The diseases and causes causing kidney damage are extremely numerous, too numerous to pass in detail but it is necessary to remember that it is better not to eat too much protein (0.7 mg per kilogram of body weight per day) and drink regularly and heat-friendly. Its purification service requires, to work properly, to eliminate a liter to a liter and a half of urine per day.

Have kidney failure

Unlike the liver, when it is damaged and the aggression stops, the kidney does not grow back. Beyond 95% of renal damage, the accumulation of waste in the body quickly translates into dysfunction and a very serious coma. To have a serious renal insufficiency, it is therefore to need an external purification system, several times a week, in dialysis, what was formerly called the "artificial kidney".

A method perfectly developed, except that it is synonymous with several dialysis sessions a week and a disruption of everyday life. Dialysis is hard enough to bear when it lasts for years.

Interest of the kidney transplant

As soon as possible, especially for younger people, they prefer the transplant. We do not replace the diseased kidney, we leave it in place but we bring a new one: it is for this reason that doctors call this a "renal transplant".

Renal transplantation was invented in France. It is perfectly perfected, not very difficult to achieve and generates few rejections ... only the donors are missing. The problem is to find a compatible kidney.

The most classic is to find a compatible kidney in someone who has just died and who is a donor. But since the organ is double, it is also possible to resort to living donors, especially in the family because it is genetically close.

What can be done to preserve one's kidney?

The first thing is of course to have a healthy lifestyle, with a balanced diet and not too rich in protein (less than 0.7 grams per kilogram of body weight and per day in theory) and especially in salt (the recommended upper limit of salt intake for adults is 6 g per day). The latter promotes high blood pressure, one of the first risk factors for kidney failure.

It is also necessary to avoid excessive intake of fat to avoid overweight and hypercholesterolemia. It is necessary to have contributions of regular liquids and adapted to the external temperature (it is necessary to have at least a liter and a half of urine per day): if the urine becomes too dark, it is because they are too concentrated and it is necessary drink more water. It is also better not to smoke and to be regularly monitored for blood pressure.

Finally, we must be wary of certain drugs such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (which are often contained in painkillers such as ibuprofen) and antacids (proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole, whose consumption chronic is associated with renal failure.

Kidney Week offers the opportunity to test yourself for free with a urine test strip. In case of abnormalities detected by the strip, the attending physician may prescribe a blood test of creatinine to assess renal function. This week reminds you that kidney donation is an option to always consider.