Kidney ailments in children: Junk food and obesity are key risk factors

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By Puja Gupta

New Delhi– It’s often hard for children to resist eating junk foods. Consuming anything in excessive quantities is always harmful to health. Junk food is high in calories and contains unhealthy fats that can lead to obesity and high sugar levels.

As our kidneys are highly responsive to increased sugar and cholesterol levels, consuming junk food in excessive quantities can lead to obesity and increase the load on the kidneys. A study reveals that a diet mostly dependent on processed and junk food may trigger diabetes and cause damage to kidneys in the long run, said Dr Sundeep Guleria, Senior Consultant, Renal Transplant Surgeon, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi.

“With the current sedentary lifestyle, exercises and physical activities often miss out on children’s daily routine. Consuming unhealthy and fatty food with no exercise and burning extra calories is the worst combination for your child’s health,” said the doctor.

Kidney Ailments in Children

The biggest problem of suffering from kidney disease is that it majorly goes undetected. By the time symptoms start showing in the body, almost 50-60 percent of the damage is already done. Though chronic kidney disease is uncommon in children with the kind of lifestyle they are living today, the risk of catching kidney ailments is on a significant rise, he said.

“Kidneys work as a body’s waste collector and disposal system. Small microscopic units called nephrons help to remove toxins and wastes from the kidneys and absorb excess water from the food eaten. In this process, the kidney returns the essential chemicals like sodium, phosphorous, and potassium in the bloodstream, and the extra wastewater left, gets combined with other wastes to be flushed out from the body.

“As a healthy functioning kidney is very important for a fit body, obesity and high blood sugar levels are gradually becoming a reason in children for catching kidney ailments at an early age. Kidneys are not only sensitive to obesity and blood sugar levels, but also to the treatment given to treat any recurring ailments. Moreover, medication increases the toxins in the bloodstream and hence kidneys have to work with greater efficiencies to flush them out.

The expert lists down major symptoms of the kidney related problems:

Swelling around the face, feet, and ankles.

Fever

Burning sensation or pain during peeing

Increase in the frequency of urination

Difficulty in controlling the urination in kids of significant age

Blood in urine

High blood pressure

Nighttime bedwetting in kids

On suspecting a kidney-related problem, a doctor might ask for the medical history, order some blood or urine tests, do a physical examination or conduct a biopsy in some cases. Urinalysis is a type of urine test that can help in detecting abnormalities in urine, as urine-related problems are a major symptom of kidney ailments, it can help the doctors in examining a kidney problem better.

The doctor suggests that with a rising number of kidney ailments in children, pediatric nephrologists are playing a major part in the healthcare system. To keep away from any kidney-related ailment at a young age, children should avoid eating unhealthy and junk food. Instead, parents should introduce healthy and nutritious food to their children’s diet. At the end of the day importance of protein-rich food and exercising regularly is hidden by none. So help maintain your children a healthy life by offering a rich diet and getting them ready to lead a disease-free life. (IANS)

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