By Dr. Ingrid Pincott
Mar 22 2006
The scope and severity of kidney disease have long been ignored and in many parts of the world people are not diagnosed until long after the illness has developed.
March 9, 2006 was the first-ever World Kidney Day to draw the world’s attention to this important health issue.
Naturopathic medicine is perfectly poised to diagnose kidney weakness long before disease sets in because Naturopathic Physicians (NDs) are obtaining comprehensive blood analyses on their patients or doing electrodermal testing which can pick up kidney weaknesses before disease has a chance to develop.
It is estimated that 1.9 million Canadians have chronic kidney disease but most don’t know it because symptoms can be silent.
Symptoms to look out for include: puffiness of eyes, hands and feet, urinary frequency at night, passing less urine or bloody, cloudy, foaming or tea colored urine or generalize persistent itching.
Kidney failure is lethal if not treated within days or weeks. Every day 14 Canadians are diagnosed with kidney failure, 29,551 cases in 2003, over half of these were 65 years or older and 61 per cent were put on dialysis and 39 per cent had a functioning transplant.
The three leading causes of kidney failure are diabetes 34 per cent, high blood pressure and renal vascular disease 19 per cent, and inflammation of the tiny filters of the kidneys (glomerulonephritis) 13 per cent. Other causes include obstruction and drug incompatibilities.
The kidneys are the master chemists of the body located on either side of the spine under the lower ribs. Every minute one liter of blood is filtered through the kidneys to remove wastes and return the cleansed blood to the body. Kidneys are so important because they regulate fluid balance through sodium, potassium and phosphate pumps, remove wastes, such as urea, creatinine and drugs, and produce hormones.
The naturopathic kidney check up in my office includes the blood tests serum creatinine, urea and GFR (glomerular filtration rate), blood sugar and cholesterol, a mid stream urine dip, blood pressure and EAV testing.
If these parameters are outside the optimal range naturopathic physicians will prescribe herbs, nutrition and homeopathy to facilitate the function of this important elimination organ as well as treat the other elimination organs: liver, skin, lungs and bowel to take some stress off the kidneys.
This is the elegance of naturopathic medicine as one system is never treated alone and the health of the whole body is improved because of it.
Other factors that are taken into consideration are:
q Is there a toxic metal load on the body? Research indicates that if there is body lead or cadmium burden that the glomerular filtration rate is decreased (low GFR).
q CoQ10 has been researched to improve renal function and reduce the number of dialysis treatments in a certain subset of renal failure patients.
q To prevent obstructions, such as kidney stones, reduces kidney disease and magnesium and B6 supplementation prevents calcium oxalate stones.
q Food allergy such as to cow’s milk, causes nephrotic syndrome in some therefore identifying food allergies is important for kidney health.
q Support the microcirculation of the body (capillaries along side every cell) by controlling blood sugars in diabetes and blood pressure in hypertension.
q Lower the chemical load on your body by choosing organic free range foods and pure water, avoiding pharmaceutical drugs as much as possible and consider routine detoxification programs to de-stress the organs of elimination over time.
Dr. Ingrid Pincott, naturopathic physician, can be reached at 286-3655 or www.DrPincott.com