How to protect yourself from AKI

Many North Americans will unknowingly fall into a trap during 2013. It results in the law of ‘unintended consequences’. Moreover, as medical treatment progresses every year, more of such consequences are waiting to happen. This week, what you should know about acute kidney injury (AKI).

The kidneys, not the bowel, comprise the body’s main disposal system. Like a chemist, each day they control water balance, keeping blood neither too acid nor too alkaline, help in the production of red blood cells, and every 30 minutes filter all of our blood.

A report from Johns Hopkins Hospital says that 20 million Americans suffer from chronic kidney disease. Kidney dysfunction can develop silently for many years. But AKI can appear suddenly and be life-threatening, primarily affecting people over 60 years of age.

Unintended consequences that trigger AKI come from a variety of sources. The big one is infection and today it’s a major problem for hospital patients. The few times I’ve been confined to hospital I’ve counted my blessings that I left without an infection.

Many are not so lucky.

Following hip replacement or bypass heart surgery, infection may require the prolonged use of antibiotics. But life-saving drugs can also injure the kidneys’ filtering system, the one million nephrons of which stretch out 70 miles long.

I found one part of the Hopkins study hard to believe.

According to Karl L. Womer, director of the Transplant Nephrology Clinic, 5% of all hospital patients develop acute kidney injury. This figure can escalate to 23% for those in intensive care areas and jumps to 30% if you’re scheduled for cardiac surgery.

That’s enough to make anyone run for the woods. But the irony is, it’s the price we pay for progress. Today more invasive diagnostic procedures are being done requiring the insertion of catheters and the injection of dyes. These procedures are performed with great care, but hovering overhead there is ways the risk of infection. And often the roll of the dice determines whether or not one of these infections strikes.

So how can you decrease the risk of developing AKI? The tragedy is repeated over and over when people rush into surgical procedures when their quality of life is minimally affected. It’s often better to live with the devil you know than the one you don’t know.

But it’s not just hospital infections that result in badly injured kidneys. A huge number of North Americans of all ages commit even greater folly, the chronic misuse of so-called minor painkillers that can slowly damage kidneys.

Every time I visit a pharmacy and see the row after row of painkillers and other medication, it’s easy to see how it happens. People have been brainwashed by pharmaceutical companies into believing there’s no need to put up with any minor ache or pain.

A report in the British Medical Journal shows that people who take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), Aspirin along with blood pressure medication face a 31% increased risk of AKI.

The most tragic unintended consequence of drug misuse is when AKI progresses to being life-threatening and requires kidney dialysis.

The number of people falling into this trap is shocking. Researchers at the University of California report that the number of patients on this procedure is increasing 10% every year.

In 2000 there were 63,000 dialysis patients and now it’s over 164,000. Moreover, one in four patients on kidney dialysis dies by heart attack.

The message is that you can put garbage into your body in various ways. Too much junk food results in obesity and diabetes with all its complications.

So as sure as night follows day, chronic misuse of medication can also have a devastating effect on the kidneys’ filtering system.

Nature did not design kidneys to handle the host and volume of synthetic drugs routinely available for people in today’s pharmacies. It’s asking too much from the Creator. Besides, the unintended consequence of being attached to a kidney machine each week often for the rest of your life is horrific.

See the web site at For comments

Just Posted

Local youth invited to check out ‘Peacebuilders’

Initiative aims to promote rights and dignity for all

Local municipalities launch 2A South Regional Transit

Communities of Innisfail, Penhold, and Springbrook now connected by transit thanks to pilot project

Getting your passport has been made easier

Government of Canada doubles number of locations where Canadians can get their passports

Police officer assaulted during traffic stop

Chasetin Morin of Red Deer faces several charges

Live nativity pageant takes place Dec. 18th to 20th

Outdoor pageant takes place in the evening at 7, 7:30 and 8 p.m. at 8 Keast Way

Story of the Year: Deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The Canadian Press annual survey of newsrooms across the country saw 53 out of 129 editors cast their votes for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

Privacy watchdog says legal cannabis buyers should use cash, not credit

Some countries could bar entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis

‘A start:’ Alberta critical of Ottawa’s $1.6B package for ailing energy sector

A further $150 million is to be used for clean growth and infrastructure projects

Two-year-old attacked by cougar near Mission, B.C.

Boy not seriously injured in incident on Monday afternoon

Trump signs order to create US Space Command

President Donald Trump signs an executive order to create a U.S. Space Command.

Groups preparing new pipeline legal challenge, argue government’s mind made up

A Vancouver-based environment charity is readying itself to go back to court if the federal government reapproves the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

Notorious Toronto triple killer gets third consecutive life sentence

Dellen Millard gets third consecutive life sentence for father’s death.

‘Subdued’ housing market predicted in B.C. through 2021: report

The Central 1 Credit Union report predicts “rising but subdued sales” over the next three years, with little movement in median home prices.

A journey through 2018’s top pop culture moments

Was there any pop culture this year? Of course there was.

Most Read