Sunday, April 21, 2024

Aging gracefully: Safeguarding kidney injury in the elderly

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With progressing age, the risk of kidney injury increases. Kidneys play a pivotal role in overall health and well-being. An in-depth understanding of the factors that increase the risk of kidney injury and adopting proactive preventive strategies for prevention is paramount. Discussed here are the multitude of risk factors associated with kidney injury in the elderly and comprehensive tips for prevention.

Diabetes control: Regular screening for diabetes is essential to detect and manage the condition effectively. Achieving good control of blood sugar levels is crucial for preventing diabetes-related kidney complications.
Hypertension control: Regular home blood pressure monitoring aids in the early detection and management of hypertension. Following a DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) or a diet low in sodium (salts) and is rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, and legumes, and fat-free or with heart-healthy oils and consistently taking prescribed medications is vital for maintaining optimal blood pressure levels.
Hyperlipidemia management: Annual lipid profile screenings help in monitoring cholesterol levels. Consistent use of prescribed medications assists in controlling lipid levels, reducing the risk of kidney injury.
Combatting obesity: Weight loss strategies, regular exercise, and lifestyle modifications are instrumental in preventing kidney injury associated with obesity.
Polypharmacy awareness: Consulting physicians to identify potential drug interactions and nephrotoxic medications is crucial for minimizing the risk of kidney damage.
Addressing ischemic events: Seeking medical attention for symptoms indicative of ischemia helps preventing kidney injury.
Management of anemia: Monitoring for symptoms of anemia and undergoing relevant tests enable early detection and management, safeguarding kidney health.
Smoking and alcohol cessation: Quitting smoking and alcohol consumption reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, heart disease, and subsequent kidney injury.
Identification and management of nephrotoxic medications: Identifying and discontinuing nephrotoxic medications are vital steps in kidney injury prevention.
Avoidance of alternate medicines containing heavy metals: Avoiding of alternative medicines containing heavy metals is essential to prevent kidney damage.
Pre-existing CKD management: Monitoring pre-existing chronic kidney disease and adhering to prescribed treatments are crucial for preventing further renal deterioration.
Cardiovascular disease management: Proper management of cardiovascular diseases through medication adherence and lifestyle modifications preserves kidney function.
Liver disease management: Ceasing alcohol consumption and treating associated infections is vital for kidney health in individuals with liver disease.
Early detection of obstructive symptoms: Early detection and management of obstructive symptoms prevent kidney injury.
Vigilance for Myeloma: Suspicion of myeloma in unexplained kidney injury underscores the importance of thorough evaluation for timely intervention.
Minimising radiocontrast dye usage: Reducing the amount of radiocontrast dye used and opting for safer alternatives mitigate the risk of kidney injury.
Post-procedural monitoring: Vigilant monitoring for kidney injury post-cardiovascular and vascular procedures is crucial for timely intervention.
Addressing dementia and social factors: Addressing medication compliance issues in individuals with dementia and seeking familial support are essential for maintaining kidney health.
Nutritional awareness: Detecting signs of malnutrition and addressing nutritional deficiencies are vital for overall health, including kidney function.

(The author, Dr Krishna Reddy, is a Consultant – Nephrologist, at Manipal Hospital.)

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