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Coronavirus And Kidney Patients: What You Need To Know

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a newly contagious disease that emerged in Wuhan, China on December 30, 2019. This disease is known to affect the kidney, heart, nervous system, blood and digestive tract. According to studies, people with kidney disease are at a higher risk of contracting the new virus.

As per the American Kidney Fund, if you are a dialysis patient with underlying health problems, it can put you at an increased risk of contracting COVID-19.

Coronavirus And Kidney Disease

A study published in the Journal, Kidney International showed that kidney patients are more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection and management of dialysis patients should be according to strict protocols to minimize the risk of infection.

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The study results showed that out of 536 patients with SARS CoV, 36 patients developed acute renal impairment which occurred in the duration of 20 days after contracting the virus despite having a normal plasma creatinine level. Acute renal impairment affected different prerenal and renal factors which ultimately led to multi-organ failure, causing death in 33 patients with acute renal impairment [1].

Age and acute respiratory distress syndrome were considered the risk factors of acute renal impairment in SARS.

The exact cause of kidney disease in people with COVID-19 is unclear. However, researchers assume that sepsis leading to cytokine storm syndrome or direct cellular injury is caused due to the virus. And RNA virus has been identified in kidney tissues in people with SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV infections.

Another study also showed similar results that individuals affected with human coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS-CoV infections developed acute kidney injury. The cases were between 5 to 15 per cent and carried a high mortality rate [2].

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Tips For Kidney Patients To Prevent COVID-19 Risk

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend the following steps to be taken if you have kidney disease, if you are on dialysis or recently have had a kidney transplant to prevent the risk of coronavirus.

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Maintain six feet distance from everyone, especially from people who are coughing and sneezing.
  • If you feel sick and experience flu-like symptoms stay at home and consult a doctor immediately.

Here are five things that dialysis patients should keep in mind during coronavirus outbreak:

  • Don't skip your dialysis treatment
  • Contact your dialysis centre on a regular basis
  • Know the symptoms of coronavirus
  • Eat healthy foods and have your medicines on time
  • Avoid stepping out and if so wear a mask

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Diet For Kidney Patients To Prevent The Risk Of COVID-19

The American Kidney Fund has recommended the following foods to be included in the kidney diet.

Foods to eat

  • Cereals
  • Fresh fruits (avoid adding sweet syrup or applesauce)
  • Vegetables such as asparagus, carrots, peas, corn, green beans and yellow squash
  • Tuna, crab meat, chicken and salmon
  • Unsalted peanut butter or almond butter
  • Mayonnaise
  • Graham crackers or plain, unsalted crackers
  • Cranberry, apple or grape juice
  • Dry milk or evaporated milk

Foods to avoid

  • Dried fruits
  • Cereals with dried fruits
  • Dried beans, including pinto, black, navy and kidney beans
  • Bran or granola
  • Potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Sports drinks

To Conclude...

Nephrologists are advising family members living with dialysis patients to follow necessary precautions and regulations given to patients to prevent coronavirus risk.