Monday, April 18, 2011

Kidney Infarctions

Complications of Sickle-cell disease related to the kidney are Sickle-cell nephropathy and chronic renal failure.

1. Nephropathy
is caused by the long term usage of analgesics (pain medicines). These pain medicines include aspirin, acetaminophen, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs.

Over use of pain medicines can cause a form of nephropathy called "chronic analgesic nephritis," which causes kidney function changes like:

a. loss and shriveling of tubules
b. thickening and scarring of tissue
c. inflammation.

Specifically, long-term use of the analgesic has been linked to death of kidney cells.

2. Renal Failure is the result of a kidney infarction. This is when a kidney artery is being blocked, compressed, ruptured by trauma, or interruption of blood supply which causes the cells to die.

The result of this damage is also known as kidney failure. Kidney failure is a medical condition in which the kidney’s fail to adequately filter toxins and waste products from the blood.

Problems frequently encountered in kidney malfunction include abnormal fluid levels in the body, increased acidity in the blood, abnormal levels of potassium, calcium, phosphate, and (in the longer term) anemia, as well as delayed healing in broken bones.

Depending on the cause, there may blood in the urine (people with sickle-cell should always lookout for this problem) and protein loss in the urine. Long-term kidney problems have significant repercussions on other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease.

Renal failure can be divided into two categories:

1. Acute kidney injury - acute kidney failure usually occurs when the blood supply to the kidneys is suddenly interrupted or when the kidney becomes overloaded with toxins.

Unlike in chronic kidney disease, the kidneys can often recover from acute failure, allowing the patient to resume a normal life.

2. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can develop slowly and initially, show few symptoms. Renal function measurement is persistently poor. Sickle-cell complication falls into this category.

Where there is little renal function, dialysis and kidney transplantation may be treatment options.

How is chronic renal failure (kidney disease) found?

a. Measuring flow rate of filtered fluid through the kidney.
b. Kidney size.
c. Measuring levels of Creatinine (high).
d. Measuring acidity in the blood (increasing).
e. Measuring levels of Potassium, Calcium, Phosphate (abnormal).
f. Blood test for anemia - less than the normal quantity of hemoglobin (red blood cells)


People with Sickle-cell disease have to be PRO-ACTIVE in their health maintenence. We should keep track of blood test results. Check to see if levels are too high or too low and notify your doctor if you notice blood in your urine.

Overuse of common drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen can cause chronic kidney damage. Pace yourself when taking these medications, AND drink lot’s of water!!!!