E-Kidney | March 2013

Simple Steps Can Prevent Acute Kidney Injury

Simple Steps Can Prevent Acute Kidney Injury

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time and has steadily been on the rise. According to recent research, the past decade has also seen a sharp increase in Acute Kidney Injury (AKI), or an abrupt decrease in kidney function.

In the U.S., AKI is one of the most serious and common health complications, occurring in up to 20% of all hospitalized patients and over 45% of patients in a critical care setting. AKI often occurs in unsuspecting people with no history of kidney disease and can be caused by the following:

  • Burns
  • Shock
  • Drug toxicity
  • Sepsis
  • Trauma
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Exposure to intravenous contrast dyes used in imaging procedures

During National Kidney Month in March and in honor of World Kidney Day, on March 14, the National Kidney Foundation offers 5 tips for preventing AKI:

  1. Learn the risk factors for AKI and inform your doctors, particularly radiologists, anesthesiologists, and surgeons, before undergoing any procedures or tests. Risk factors include: Older age, female, black, dehydration, history of chronic diseases of the heart and lungs, diabetes, or pre-existing chronic kidney disease.
  2. Stay hydrated
  3. Avoid long term use of kidney-toxic drugs such as over the counter (OTC ) pain medications 
  4. Weigh the risks and benefits of medical tests using medications and dyes cleared by the kidneys
  5. Avoid herbal remedies known to be toxic to the kidneys, such as Artemisia absinthium (wormwood plant) and Chuifong tuokuwan (Black Pearl)

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the leading organization in the U.S. dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease for hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals, millions of patients and their families and tens of millions of Americans at risk.

For more information about AKI, kidney disease and World Kidney Day activities, including free screenings across the country, visit www.kidney.org.