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Kidney disease can cause many complications, but don't let this scare you. It is very important to know that you can control and avoid many things through your own lifestyle.
Here's what you need to know
Das solltest du wissen
Ecco cosa c'è da sapere
Voici ce qu'il faut savoir
Esto es lo que debe saber
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This article describes the 11 most important secondary diseases and summarizes how they can be avoided:

  • Hyperparathyroidism

  • Renal anemia (=insufficient oxygen transport in the blood)

  • Cardiovascular diseases

  • Arterial hypertension (high blood pressure)

  • Development of edema (=increased water retention in the body)

  • Metabolic acidosis (=blood is too acidic)

  • Skin diseases

  • Diseases of the nervous system

  • Malnutrition

  • Gastrointestinal disorders

  • Sexual dysfunction

1. Hyperparathyroidism

Overactivity of your parathyroid gland often leads to calcification of the vessels and soft tissues in the body. It is important that you manage to normalize your phosphate and calcium levels. You should also compensate for a possible vitamin D deficiency. You can do both with diet and medication. The nutrition section of your Mizu app will help you with this.

2. Renal anemia (=insufficient oxygen transport in the blood)

This means that too little of the hormone erythropoietin (EPO) is produced by your kidneys. Also, your red blood cells don't survive as long in your blood, as they normally would. Overall, this means that your blood can't carry enough oxygen around your body. Your nephrologist and you can treat and compensate for anemia with medication.

3. Cardiovascular diseases (=cardiovascular diseases)

If your parathyroid glands overproduce because of kidney disease, the risk that the blood vessel walls of your arteries calcify (=arteriosclerosis) increases. The correct adjustment through medication is very important in this case.

4. Arterial hypertension

In hypertension, the blood pressure in your arteries is too high. Proper adjustment of blood pressure through medication, exercise, diet, etc. is important to delay or completely prevent late effects.

5. Formation of edema (=overhydration in the body)

When your kidneys can no longer excrete enough water, fluid accumulates especially under your skin in your legs or eyelids. It can also be deposited next to your lungs or in your abdomen. Your nephrologist may prescribe diuretic medications. If these do not help, you should definitely reduce the amount you drink.

6. Metabolic acidosis (=hyperacidity of the blood)

In acidosis, your kidneys can no longer regulate your body's pH well, which lead to an accumulation of acids in your blood. Your nephrologist will prescribe medications to help.

7. Skin diseases

Various changes can lead to dry skin, itching, hair loss, skin calcification, pinpoint skin bleeding, or dark discoloration. Good personal hygiene and skin care are of great importance. Soothing medications can be prescribed by the nephrologist.

8. Diseases of the nervous system

As a result of kidney disease, your nervous system (both peripheral and central nervous system) may be damaged. Various disturbing factors can occur: reduced sense of feeling in your hands and feet, burning and tingling sensations, restless legs (=restless legs sydrome) and/or burning feet. Physical measures (=movement), medication or psychological therapy approaches can provide relief.

9. Malnutrition

A diet with too little protein and energy in kidney disease is a major problem and often a challenge. Yet it is an incredibly important factor in living longer. In addition to prescribed professional nutritional coaching, the food section of the Mizu app is designed to help you do master your personalized dialysis diet.

10 Gastrointestinal disorders

All sorts of stomach problems may occur: gastric emptying disorders, disorders of the intestinal motor function, problems with the digestive function, or issues with the fluid secretion of your bile and pancreas. Your nephrologist can and will support you with these issues with medication.

11. Sexual dysfunction

In men, impotence and erectile dysfunction (="can't do it") can occur. Women, on the other hand, may experience loss of libido (="don't want to do it") and absence of their menstruation. Open discussions with your nephrologist will help to get these side effects under control. The biggest hurdle is overcoming your fear of talking about it. It can only help to talk openly about these topics.

Should I be afraid now?

As you can see, kidney failure can lead to many unpleasant secondary diseases. Now you may also understand a little better why your medical team is so regularly on your nerves about nutrition, for example. Above all, they want to avoid these dangerous secondary problems. To achieve this, you are the one in charge for the largest part.

Medically reviewed by:
Medizinisch überprüft durch:
Verificato dal punto di vista medico da:
Médicalement vérifié par :
Médicamente comprobado por:
Dr. Diego Parada Rodriguez (en)
Specialist in training for Nephrology
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