Uremia, a Greek word, is the condition that causes urea to accumulate in the blood. Uremia is a sign that the kidneys are excessively damaged and the toxins, or bodily waste, that your kidneys normally send out in your urine, end up in your bloodstream. People suffering from uremia usually have proteins, creatine, and other substances in their blood. This contamination affects almost every system of the body. Literally speaking, Uremia translates into "urine in the blood."
Measures For Prevention:
By making holistic lifestyle changes and managing chronic diseases, uremia can be prevented. Since uremia is caused by severe kidney disease and kidney failure, it can be prevented by taking steps to prevent kidney disease. Some ways to prevent kidney disease include:
- Controlling Diabetes- If you have diabetes, your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Over time, this can damage your kidneys as well.
- Taking Steps to Maintain Cardiovascular Health - Heart diseases and kidney diseases often go hand in hand. Having a healthy heart leads to a healthy kidney which in turn is instrumental in helping prevent uremia.
- Quit Smoking- Smoking slows the blood flow to important organs like the kidneys and can make kidney disease worse.
- Maintaining a Healthy Diet- Foods like cauliflower, red bell peppers, onions, apples and cranberries are excellent boosting your overall kidney health.
- Regular Exercise- Running for 30 minutes a day improves blood circulation and strengthens your kidney. Walking is one of the easiest ways to improve overall health and maintain an active lifestyle when you have kidney disease.
- Dietary Changes – Limit Phosphorus & Potassium Intake: Uremia causes renal failure, a condition where the kidneys of the affected person stop filtering waste from the blood.
Avoid food that’s high in phosphorus (some examples of foods that are high in phosphorus include cheese, nuts and seeds) and potassium (some examples of foods high potassium foods include legumes, potatoes, tomatoes, bananas). As kidney failure progresses, the mineral phosphorus starts building up in the blood. When the level of phosphorus goes abnormally high, patients are advised to reduce high protein foods as most high protein foods are high in phosphorus as well.
Protein and Uremia:
As mentioned earlier, though proteins play an important role in maintaining good health, it is not exactly the same for uremia patients. Due to this, patients have to be careful about their protein intake. Patients are often recommended to reduce their protein intake to reduce the workload on the kidneys. Sometimes, we recommend the protein restriction diet (PRD) that helps reduce the blood urea nitrogen level in the body.
The recommended amount of protein to eat in stage 5 is 0.6 to 0.75 grams of protein per kilogram body weight. This is quite lower in comparison to the requirement of an average person which is about 65 grams per day.
Remember, uremia is a serious condition, and it can be life-threatening. Please refrain from treating it at home. If you think you may have any symptoms that might be related to an issue with your kidneys, it’s important that you consult your doctor immediately. Most people will need dialysis, but every case is different from the other which is why timely medical intervention is of utmost importance.
Luke Coutinho, Adviser of Integrative Lifestyle and Nutrition, Purenutrition.me