Saturday, 31 October 2015

Kidney Week and RA

This blog starts with a patient story, just the way we are told that many hospital and heathcare meetings begin.

Julie has rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and knows about CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) from experience.

"There are different levels of CKD depending on how well the kidneys work.  My Kidney disease is at Stage 2.  My kidneys work at 42% of what might be considered normal.  Most people's kidneys don't work as well when they age, but mine are worse.  

From etsy shop YourOrganGrinder. Buy yourself a kidney

I actually have no symptoms.  People don't usually have symptoms until the numbers get much lower.  I do have to keep my blood pressure under control and can not take several medications - like NSAID'S, Tylenol, biologics, etc.  The Vicodin that I take has a small amount of Tylenol, but my doctor said that was all right.  He sees many patients who have kidney problems from the NSAID'S - they have taken too many.  

A man who John worked with was taking Advil like candy for his osteoarthritis and went into kidney failure.  He had to go on dialysis for a period of time until they were able to get his kidneys working again.

My problems all started with a medication that I took - Vioxx  (a cox-2 NSAID).  It put me in to kidney dysfunction 6 weeks after I started it.  Vioxx is now off the market because mainly because it was affecting the Hearts of people that took it.  But - it affected my kidneys.  

After stopping the Vioxx, my kidneys returned to close to normal but apparently more kidney problems showed up later - you know how the inflammation of Rheumatoid Arthritis likes to attack internal organs.  My Internist sent me to a Nephrologist (Kidney doctor) and he has been checking my kidney levels ever since.  I have extensive renal tests every year.  So far, I have remained at a stable number."

I have had a draft of this story from Julie for a few months now but today seemed to be the perfect time to post it.

This morning the #HealthXPh tweet chat, run by doctors in the Philippines was about dialysis. You can see the blog here. This treatment for CKD is hard for anyone, with 3 dialysis sessions a week being ideal. Imagine how much more of a burden it is in a country where personal income is much lower.

A few hours after HealthXPh I saw Bernadette Keefe's (@nxtstop1 on Twitter) storify of events leading up to next week's nephrology conference celebrating Kidney Week November 3rd to 8th. 

If you're on Twitter the hashtag for the conference is #kidneywk. There are scary stories about kidneys out there - one is the urban legend about waking up in a bathtub of ice with your kidneys stolen. Kidneys are small but necessary.

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