What do kidneys do?

Kidneys have important role in maintaining health. Healthy kidneys maintain the body’s normal balance of water and blood chemicals. It also manufactures Vitamin D and a hormone called Erythropoietin which maintains the haemoglobin level in blood.

What happens when kidneys fail?

Damaged kidneys are less efficient in removing waste & excess fluids from the blood. The major cause of Kidney failure is Diabetes and Hypertension. In cases of uncontrolled Diabetes and Hypertension, kidney function starts declining. Normally this process is very slow and there are no symptoms, only regular blood tests for Urea & Serum Creatinine can detect such deterioration. If undetected and not treated on time, the patient reaches ESRD (End Stage Renal disease) – a stage, when kidney functions are almost 80% damaged. At this stage, the patient requires renal replacement therapy –i.e. a transplant or Dialysis. Out of the 230 odd countries representing a population of around 6.3 billion, around 120 countries run established dialysis programmes. There are roughly 1,226,000 dialysis patients in the world. Twenty four percent of them live in the US, and 17 and 19 percent live in the European Union and Japan respectively. In India alone, every year more than 150,000 new patients suffer from kidney failure. It is estimated that from this number that about 90% of the cases go undetected or do not undergo renal replacement therapy. Amongst those who take the renal replacement therapy, kidney transplant is done in very few cases due to various limitations. Majority of the patients undergo Dialysis process which maintains haemoglobin level in blood.