You can die from a kidney infection

Renal insufficiency: sick kidneys die insidiously

According to the Information Center for Prevention and Early Detection (IPF), around five million people in Germany suffer from kidney dysfunction - many without knowing it. Because a diseased kidney initially suffers without symptoms. It becomes life-threatening when the kidneys only perform 15 percent of their work. Dialysis and kidney transplants are often the last resort. How to recognize kidney disease and who is at risk.

Renal insufficiency develops insidiously

While kidney stones and inflammation of the renal pelvis cause severe, acute pain, chronic kidney diseases - for example circulatory disorders of the kidneys - initially go unnoticed. But it is precisely this damage that is tricky: "Chronic kidney failure develops slowly and insidiously, you do not notice it," says Dr. Michael Daschner, nephrologist and chairman of the Association of German Kidney Centers. The performance of the kidney decreases continuously without showing any clear symptoms. "Symptoms such as loss of appetite and nausea only appear shortly before the end," says the kidney specialist. "Then the kidneys often only have 20 percent of their function - it doesn't take long until dialysis", says the expert.

Kidney failure is fatal

Only when both kidneys fail completely are the signs clear: no more urine is produced, but water is stored in the legs and lungs. This urine poisoning (uremia) or overhydration leads to heart failure, nausea and brain damage within a few days to weeks. If the patient is not on dialysis, kidney failure is fatal within a few weeks. Around 60,000 patients are already on dialysis machines, according to the IPF.

Beware of diabetes and high blood pressure

The most common causes of chronic kidney failure are diabetes, gout, or high blood pressure. The kidney tissue is poorly supplied with blood due to these diseases and slowly dies. Other reasons include regular pain medication or a family history of kidney disease.

Have the kidney checked at an early stage

Risk patients should have their kidney function checked by a doctor once a year. If the kidney failure is detected relatively early, further damage can be avoided. For the kidney examinations, a blood or urine sample is usually sufficient for the doctor. The determination of creatinine in the blood is currently the most common method for determining kidney function, reports the IPF. However, the value is strongly dependent on age, muscle mass and gender. The concentration of creatinine only increases when the kidneys are only performing half of their work.

New test procedures are more accurate

But there are newer test procedures that allow earlier and more accurate detection. The concentration of the proteins cystatin C, albumin and creatinine, a product of muscle metabolism, can be measured. Cystatin C in particular allows particularly detailed conclusions to be drawn about the filtration performance of the kidneys, explains the IPF.

Renal failure is incurable

You cannot cure kidney failure - but you can prevent a serious course of the disease. To do this, it is important to treat the underlying disease, such as high blood pressure. An adapted diet and medication can also delay the progression of the disease.

Important NOTE: The information is in no way a substitute for professional advice or treatment by trained and recognized doctors. The contents of t-online cannot and must not be used to independently make diagnoses or start treatments.