Inflammation And Its Effects On Chronic Kidney Disease
Inflammation in the body is a natural defense the body takes when it is fighting disease or infection. “Inflammation is an immune response that occurs when the body’s white blood cells and immune-fighting chemicals work to protect it from infective and foreign substances, such as bacteria, viruses and injuries.”
There are 2 types of inflammation:
- Acute- occurs for a short period of time.
- Chronic- occurs over a long period of time and may never go away.
People with chronic kidney disease (CKD) can experience chronic inflammation, which is called nephritis. The causes for nephritis are: infections, autoimmune disorders and toxins in the body. This inflammation can cause kidney pain (that can be accompanied by nausea or vomiting). The most common pain symptoms are:
- A constant and dull ache in your back.
- Pain in your sides, under your rib cage or in your stomach.
- Severe or sharp pain that comes in waves.
- Pain that spreads to your groin area.
“An inflammatory response can also occur when the immune system goes into action without an injury or infection to fight. Since there’s nothing to heal, the immune system cells that normally protect us begin to destroy healthy arteries, organs and joints.” Common causes of inflammation in CKD patients:
- Poor nutrition or appetite.
- Dialysis vascular access infection.
- Poor dental health.
- Uremia (extra waste in the blood)
- A transplanted kidney that no longer works properly.
- A lingering infection.
- Toxins in the blood
Chronic inflammation can have damaging consequences. It’s not possible to reverse any kidney damage, but you can slow it down. Decreasing inflammation is one of the ways to manage your CKD:
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods: fresh vegetables and fruits, any food containing omega-3 fatty acids (salmon, tuna, walnuts, flaxseeds), grapes, celery, blueberries, garlic, olive oil, whole grains.
- Cut back on red meat, deep fried foods and processed foods.
- Control your blood sugar: build meals around lean proteins and whole foods high in fiber.
- Make time to exercise.
- Manage stress.
“Some additional considerations in treating chronic inflammation include adequate dialysis to remove toxins from the blood, correction of anemia and vitamin D deficiency, and increased exercise.“
about the author
Lisa Foster is a mom of 3 daughters, a puzzle lover, writer and HealthTree advocate. She believes in the mission of the foundation and the team that builds it forward. She calls Houston, Texas home.