When focusing on a kid’s health, many of us, parents, dieticians, pediatricians, have a propensity towards obesity and heart-related diseases. Kidney functioning is also vital to maintain a healthy body and it is important for parents to keep an eye on their kids’ kidney functioning while feeding and raising. So it becomes important to create awareness about kidney diseases kids are prone to, that may affect millions around the globe, including small children, who may be under a risk of kidney disorder/disease at an early age.
What is the role of kidneys?
It is necessary to understand the function and role of the kidney to sustain a healthy living. Kidneys filter out the extra water and wastes from the blood which leaves the body as urine. Kidney secretes hormones that help in the making of blood and to strengthen the bones. When the kidney is diseased, it is inefficient in eliminating wastes out of the body that in turn increases the rate of heart disease progressing to renal failure.
It is therefore important to educate the parents about the importance of renal diseases in kids. Early detection is must, for a healthy lifestyle in children, right from birth till old age, in order to combat with the preventable kidney damage that may include acute kidney injury, chronic disease and also to treat kidney disorders a child is born with.
A mother has a vital role to play throughout during her pregnancy phase. A healthy mother delivers a healthy child with a healthy set of nephrons. The probability of bearing a healthy child reduces in a malnourished mother. That is why a pregnant woman has to be well taken care of as the embryo needs a rich diet of protein, iron, and vitamins. Nothing can be done to the kids born with genetic carry-forward of disease. Premature delivery or a baby with high blood pressure or diabetes are at a higher risk of kidney disorders or heart diseases.
Symptoms of disorder in kids
Here are some indications that can alert the parents:-
- Difficulty in gaining weight and poor growth
- Frequent body aches, urination or taking a long time to urinate
- Swollen face, legs, ankles while getting up in the morning
- Color change in urine
- Recurrent abdomen pain
- The appearance of ants in the urinated place may be a symptom
Precautions and Tips for Parents
Incidences of Kidney disease in India is increasing at an alarming rate. According to a recent study 17 out of every 100 Indians are suffering from kidney diseases. Parents can do several things in order to keep their child healthy and lead a disease-free life:
- Healthy diet– Parents should keep their children fit, active and eating well to ensure that they do not become overweight. As a start, children should be encouraged to take part in school sports, and families should become more active. A balanced diet contains a mixture of fats, carbohydrates, proteins. Avoid processed foods and fizzy drinks in order to maintain sugar and salt level
- Fluid intake – Healthy fluid intake is necessary for children, especially water. But if a child is dehydrated, he/she should not urinate more frequently as the water gets absorbed by the body.
- No-smoking – Teenage is the most fascinating for cigarettes. Children should be dissuaded from smoking.
- Medicines and drugs – Aspirin and other banned drug usages may directly affect the kidney or liver. It dehydrates the body and succeeds in kidney failure.
- Slash sodium – Too much of sodium can lead to hypertension, so cutting down on salt intake is better. Daily 1.5 to 2.3 grams daily is the prescribed amount of salt intake.
- Pump up potassium – Potassium helps in balancing the water level and reduces the effect of sodium, thereby reducing blood pressure. Soit is key that kids are nourished with potassium-rich foods (potato, spinach, beans, low-fat dairy products, etc.)
The writer, Dr. Saurabh Kalia, is a surgical gastroenterologist at Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Jaipur