Water way to beat kidney disease

Plenty of water intake can help slow the progression of chronic kidney disease.

Published: 30th October 2013 07:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th October 2013 07:54 AM   |  A+A-

When Y B Lakshmi was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disorder (CKD) at the age of 17, she was advised to consume less than 500ml of water and not more than 1000ml of fluids.

The medical advice was based on the assumption that people with CKD should cut on water consumption as patients in the fourth and fifth stages should not drink excess water. The kidneys of such patients are damaged and can’t excrete the extra water. However, that is not the case with people in the earlier three stages, like Lakshmi.

A recent research has showed that people in the first three stages can and should drink more water.

Lakshmi’s consultant Dr Georgi Abraham says that people with Chronic Kidney Disorder (CKD) are often advised to drink less water, but it has been proven recently that more water consumption can help prevent CKD or reduce its progress in patients in its earlier stages. Now, 59-year-old Lakshmi, who underwent a transplant in 2003, after her husband Y Jagannath Rao donated one kidney, has been advised to drink more water.

Dr Abraham says, “Initially, we were unaware of this fact and unable to specify the correct amount of water that CKD patients should consume. It was in June this year that we realised how important water was for CKD patients, during a symposium that was conducted in the World Congress of Nephrology, Hong Kong. In the symposium, Dr Richard Jhonson, professor of Medicine, University of Denver Colorado, highlighted the importance of water through his experimental data while heading the discussion.”

Dr Abraham, who is professor of Medicine, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, consultant nephrologist, Madras Medical Mission and member of Committee of International Society of Nephrology, adds that water is an essential part of our system as around 50 per cent body weight is water in females and 60 per cent in males.

As water is secreted through urine, sweat and exhaled air, the input must match the output to maintain balance. The volume of water also determines how much salt the kidney must throw away. The process depends upon complex metabolic pump, which needs energy to work and are present throughout the nephron. If patients in the early stages of CKD drink less water the pumps have to put in more energy, aggravating the condition.

He also says that people who do not have kidney problems should drink at least three litres of water every day and avoid fizzy drinks. Dr Abraham also says that a study by Clark et al, which shows that people, who consume less than one litre of water per day, have mild to moderate decline in kidney functioning, while people who consume more than three litres per day have half the risk of developing the incidence of CKD.

It has been concluded through a number of studies that if people consume more than three litres of water per day, it can help prevent or slow down the progression of CKD.  “I would advise him/her to follow up the kidney function, that is keep a record whether the progress is slow or rapid. Secondly, I would advise to avoid unnecessary medicines and most importantly to drink at least three litres of water every day,” says Dr Abraham.

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