If you're going to see a doctor about a kidney ailment, here are five important questions to ask.
What can I do to prevent another kidney stone?
People who have had one kidney stone are at higher risk for another. If you pass a kidney stone in your urine, try to collect it in a strainer so your doctor can analyze the type of chemical it contains. Depending on the type of stone, you may need to alter your diet, drink large amounts of water, or take specific medications.
Can I pass polycystic kidney disease on to my children?
Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder that comes in two forms: autosomal dominant, which is responsible for about 90 percent of cases, and autosomal recessive. If you have the dominant form, your children have a 50 percent chance of developing the disease whether or not the other parent has it too. If you have the recessive form, your children cannot develop the disease unless both parents have it, and even then there is only a 25 percent chance. A simple genetic test can determine which form you have.
When will I need dialysis?
Most kinds of kidney disease get progressively worse and will eventually result in kidney failure, requiring dialysis or a transplant. Dialysis can require major changes in lifestyle, so it may be helpful to plan for that eventuality. Most people with kidney failure start dialysis when their kidneys have lost 85 to 90 percent of their function capabilities.
Am I a good candidate for a transplant?
Before you can begin looking for a donor kidney, you must undergo a series of exams to determine if you are a viable transplant recipient. Doctors will run tests on your heart, lungs, and other organs to make sure your body can handle a transplant, and they will evaluate your mental health as well.
What happens if I donate my kidney?
The best candidates for kidney donation are close relatives, which means that if you have a family member with kidney failure, you may be asked to donate one of your kidneys. It is possible to lead a completely normal life with one kidney, and donors are not known to have a higher risk of kidney disease or a lower life expectancy than normal healthy adults. However, as with any surgery, there are risks associated with the kidney removal procedure itself. Before you are allowed to donate a kidney, your health will be evaluated to make sure your body can handle the process.