Each March we celebrate World Kidney Day, to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.
While kidney disease has no gender, race, or creed – there are some differences between males and females in the way CKD manifests, progresses, and impacts the body. This year, we’re taking a look at a few of the things you should know about your kidneys as a woman – whether you are living with kidney disease or not. Women may be more likely than men to get chronic kidney disease (CKD).
Women are associated with higher risk of CKD than males the incidence of kidney disease in females 15.93 % v/s 13.52% in males. However, the number of women on dialysis is lower than the number of men.
Common kidney disease in children & Women – Glomerulonephritis(SLE & non SLE), kidney infection (pyelonephritis), pregnancy induced hypertension (PIH) and others
One of major factor for higher number of kidney disease in women is that initial symptoms & signs are not reported to family members & also due to late consultancy.
SLE(systemic lupus erythematosus)-is severe multi system disease predominantly affecting females (95% of case are females), this disease affects child bearing age 15-40yrs females, this disease needs good counselling during treatment & requires years of follow up.
Kidney disease in pregnancy-
1) Kidney infections-every visit during antenatal period requires urine testing to detect kidney infection
2) PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension) every antenatal visit blood pressure should be recorded this disease if missed can be devastating in further course can complicate mothers & fetal condition
3) Proteinuria (passing of protein in urine) in pregnancy-there may be worsening of proteinuria if previous proteinuric illness exists this may reduce kidney function & impact mother/fetal condition
Oral contraceptive pills (OCP) induced hypertension-this is very common reversible condition where OCPs can induce hypertension, so females on OCPs should get blood pressure checked regularly.
Special Counseling in Pre-existing Kidney disease in pregnancy – in such scenario a thorough counselling is needed because some Pre-existing kidney disease there is life risk to fetus & mother, some disease requires close watch on blood & urine tests so there maybe a need to terminate pregnancy or may need early induction of labour, in extreme cases pregnancy cannot be planned. Simple kidney infection entity can result in pre-term labour, intrauterine death of fetus, low birth weight.
Symptoms to look for
Early symptoms- Swelling of feet, facial swelling, passing red/cola coloured urine, hypertension (Blood Pressure), weakness, reduced appetite
Kidney infection if not treated early can lead to preterm labor, intrauterine death of fetus, low birth weight.
There is a clear need for higher awareness, timely diagnosis and proper follow up of CKD in pregnancy. In turn, pregnancy may be also a valuable occasion for early diagnosis of CKD, allowing planning of therapeutic interventions.
About the Author:
Dr.Ritesh Vernekar, a noted Nephrologist. Dr. Dr.Ritesh finished his MBBS and M.D (General Medicine) from Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College Belagavi and D.M (Nephrology)from Seth GSMC KEMH, Mumbai. He is an Associate Professor at KLE University’s Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College Belagavi.