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Air Pollution Linked To Increased Risk Of Kidney Disease

Posted on: October 19, 2017 by in Blog
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Everyone knows that breathing dirty air is bad for your lungs, but did you also know that polluted air may be bad for your kidneys, substantially increasing your risk for kidney disease? If you’re a kidney disease patient, if you’re at risk for kidney disease, or if you love someone who is, you’re about to learn some details that you need to know – about the air you breathe.

Research in the past has hinted at the impact of air pollution on the kidneys. Coal mining towns often report high rates of kidney disease, and lab mice forced to breathe exhaust particles show the symptoms of kidney damage. Now, recently published research strongly suggests that air pollution may cause, contribute to, and exacerbate chronic kidney disease.

Stated simply, bad air is bad for the kidneys. Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly of the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System, one of the research team leaders, flatly states, “Air pollution is a risk factor for kidney disease development.” He told Reuters Health, “You can argue that it’s even more of a problem in countries like China or India, where pollution is much, much, much worse.”

WHAT ARE THE DETAILS BEHIND THE RESEARCH?

The research was published online in September in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. The research team assessed the medical data for more than 2.4 million veterans – data compiled over more than eight years – in an attempt to gauge the impact of air pollution on the kidneys.

When we breathe bad air, we inhale particulate matter, tiny fragments in the air that are produced by industrial processes that include fossil fuel combustion. Fragments with a diameter tinier than 2.5 micrometers may be inhaled deeply and easily. The particles are already linked to strokes, diabetes, heart disease, and shorter life spans.

Researchers compared the medical conditions of the vets, including information on the glomerular filtration rate (a measure of kidney function), against county-by-county air pollution data supplied by the Environmental Protection Agency and by NASA.

WHAT WERE THE RESEARCH FINDINGS?

The research team found that veterans residing in counties with the highest particulate matter levels were more likely to belong to two high-risk categories for kidney disease. First, they were predominantly African-American, and secondly, they suffered predominantly from diabetes and high blood pressure.

As researchers reviewed the entire eight years of medical data for the veterans, they learned that higher particulate matter levels were statistically consistent with a heightened risk for end-stage renal disease, when kidneys no longer function and dialysis – or a kidney transplant – is necessary to keep a kidney disease patient alive.

The New York Times report on the research study emphasized these conclusions: “The scientists calculate that ‘unhealthy’ pollution levels lead to an annual increase of 44,793 cases of chronic kidney disease, and 2,438 cases of end-stage kidney disease requiring dialysis. Even levels below those considered ‘safe’ increased risk.”

Possibly most disturbing is the finding that even at pollution levels below the Environmental Protection Agency’s recommended limit of 12 micrograms per cubic meter, kidney damage was significant. “The message is that no level of air pollution is really safe,” says Dr. Al-Aly.

For each increase of ten micrograms of fine particulates per cubic meter of air, the risk of kidney disease rose by 27 percent, and the risk of kidney failure rose by 26 percent. Dr. Al-Aly and his researchers were not able to prove a conclusive, direct link between particulate matter and chronic kidney disease, but we know that particulate matter can spread to the kidneys through the bloodstream, causing stress, inflammation, and probably other damage to the kidneys.

DID OTHER RESEARCHERS AGREE WITH THESE FINDINGS?

Reuters Health asked Dr. Jennifer Bregg-Gresham of the Kidney Epidemiology and Cost Center at the University of Michigan to review the research conducted by Dr. Al-Aly’s team. She concluded, “These new findings support that even low levels of fine particulate matter air pollution across the U.S. can increase the risk of serious kidney problems.”

“Given the millions of people with and at-risk for kidney disease who are impacted by air pollution, this has serious public health implications,” Dr. Bregg-Gresham added. She suggests that exposure to particulate matter can be reduced with indoor air purification, and in heavily polluted cities, using an inexpensive respirator N95 facemask.

Vlado Perkovic, a kidney specialist at the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, Australia, also reviewed the findings. “It’s an incredibly careful analysis,” according to Perkovic. He also said, “These findings are going to have huge public health relevance.”

HOW WIDESPREAD IS KIDNEY DISEASE IN THE U.S.?

The findings may also explain why some people with none of the typical indicators of risk for kidney disease – such as hypertension and diabetes – still develop the condition. Nearly 45,000 new patients with chronic kidney disease are diagnosed each year in the United States. That’s in addition to an estimated 26 million of us who are already struggling with kidney disease.

With so many kidney disease patients, the opportunities for serious medical mistakes are abundant. With the proper treatment, kidney disease can usually be halted or slowed at the earliest stages and managed without great inconvenience. Without proper testing, diagnosis, and treatment, chronic kidney disease will inevitably advance to total kidney failure.

When you have a medical checkup, urine tests and blood tests are routine. If the results are misinterpreted, or if the indications of kidney disease are not even recognized, a specialist won’t be consulted, treatment will not proceed, and a patient’s kidney health can deteriorate rapidly. That constitutes medical malpractice, and if it happens to you, you’ll want to discuss your rights with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

HOW IS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE DEFINED?

Medical malpractice is defined as the violation of the “reasonable standard of care” provided by most doctors, but it is usually difficult for a kidney disease patient to know whether he or she is a medical malpractice victim. Every malpractice case is unique, and every accusation of malpractice must be thoroughly investigated by an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

If you don’t have chronic kidney disease, chances are that you know someone who does – perhaps in your own family. The truth is that medical malpractice in the United States is responsible for more deaths each year than kidney disease.

The victims of medical malpractice are often entitled to substantial compensation, and their actions also protect others by deterring future incidents of malpractice. Don’t risk your health. If you even suspect that you or your loved one may be a medical malpractice victim, speak to an experienced medical malpractice attorney at once.

Can Poor Sleep Escalate Kidney Disease?

Posted on: September 18, 2017 by in Blog
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Millions of men and women around the globe – in every ethnic group, nation, and walk of life – suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD). The World Health Organization reports that chronic kidney disease is a leading cause of death worldwide, and fatalities linked to chronic kidney disease are rising at a rate of eight percent annually. Kidney disease is a growing international health concern. According to National Kidney Foundation estimates, about 26 million of us in the U.S. suffer with CKD, and it’s responsible for over 90,000 deaths in this country every year.

New research published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology suggests that good sleeping habits are essential for anyone who is struggling with chronic kidney disease. The researchers found significant evidence indicating that a lack of sleep and poor sleeping habits may exacerbate CKD and even increase the speed of the disease’s progression. Researchers from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Chicago worked together to examine the 431 participants in the study and the link between sleep and the progress of chronic kidney disease.

CKD is the incremental loss of kidney function, usually over a period of years or even decades. Although chronic kidney disease may eventually progress to kidney failure, and although there is no cure, if CKD is diagnosed early and accurately and treated properly, the majority of chronic kidney disease patients can manage the condition with prescription drugs and without significantly disrupting their lives, families, or everyday routines. CKD may be caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, or a number of other conditions. Early diagnosis and treatment are absolutely imperative.

Poor sleeping habits are associated with insulin resistance, deteriorating cardiac function, high levels of inflammation, and poor appetite regulation. Older studies have indicated that poor sleeping habits are common among chronic kidney disease patients, but apparently no previous researchers – prior to the combined Northwestern/University of Illinois effort – have directly investigated the impact of poor sleeping habits on the progression of CKD.

HOW WAS THE RESEARCH CONDUCTED?

In this most recent study, 48 percent of the participants were women, half had diabetes, and the mean age of participants was 60. Participants wore an accelerometer – a device that measures motion and sleep duration – for a period of five to seven days. Participants also maintained a sleep journal and logged in writing the hours they slept.

Five years of follow-up monitoring was then conducted by researchers. Dr. Ana Ricardo, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Illinois, reports, “We observed that sleep is seriously impaired in these patients with chronic kidney disease.”

The average period of sleep for the study participants was 6.5 hours each night. Frequently interrupted sleep, a condition known as “sleep fragmentation,” was linked with a heightened risk of eventual kidney failure. Shorter periods of sleep and longer bouts of fragmentation were linked to a more rapid progression of CKD. During the five-year follow-up period, 70 of the participants experienced kidney failure, leading to 48 deaths.

WHAT DID THE RESEARCHERS FIND?

After making statistical adjustments for demographics, diabetes, blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, body mass index, and baseline kidney function, researchers linked each added hour of sleep to a 19 percent lower risk for eventual kidney failure. Researchers also found a significant link between the risk of kidney failure and the quality of sleep: every one percent increase in sleep fragmentation corresponded to a 4 percent increased

Researchers also found a significant link between the risk of kidney failure and the quality of sleep: every one percent increase in sleep fragmentation corresponded to a 4 percent increased risk of eventual kidney failure. Patients who felt sleepy in the daytime were ten percent more likely to die in the five-year follow-up period than who did not feel fatigue during the daytime.

“Each hour less of sleep duration increases the risk for deterioration of kidney function over time,” according to Dr. Ricardo. She added that many patients who are suffering with chronic kidney disease are also likely to experience problems with sleep apnea because the conditions share risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. “If we find that sleep apnea is a main driver of poor sleep among patients with chronic kidney disease, then perhaps ensuring that it is treated can help improve overall outcomes,” Dr. Ricardo concluded.

CKD patients should actively attempt to learn more about their condition. Reliable resources are provided by the American Kidney Fund, the National Kidney Foundation, and a number of other sources. Patients must not hesitate to ask questions, and they should accept nothing but clear, candid, and comprehensive responses from their healthcare providers. You must feel that the doctors and others who provide your healthcare services are trustworthy.

ARE YOU AT RISK FOR MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?

In fact, if you’ve received a diagnosis of CKD, you cannot put yourself in the hands of negligent or careless healthcare providers. With 26 million CKD sufferers in the United States, the opportunities for medical malpractice in the treatment of CKD are abundant.

If you are victimized by medical malpractice while seeking or obtaining CKD treatment, take your case at once to an experienced medical malpractice attorney who routinely works on behalf of CKD patients. Treatment for kidney disease is advancing rapidly on a number of promising fronts, so there is no reason whatsoever for a kidney disease patient to suffer unnecessarily.

When CKD is diagnosed accurately and early, its progress can be slowed or even virtually halted. Many patients successfully manage CKD for years. However, in too many other cases, an early, accurate diagnosis of CKD and the right treatment just don’t happen.

When tests and examinations are not conducted, when test and exam results are misinterpreted, when a needed referral isn’t made, or when CKD goes untreated or is improperly treated, medical malpractice has been committed.

Under the law in every state, although the precise wording of the statutes may differ, medical malpractice is generally defined as a violation of the “reasonable standard of care” that most doctors routinely provide, but it’s often difficult to determine on your own whether or not you are a victim of medical malpractice. Every allegation of medical malpractice is unique, and every malpractice case must be comprehensively considered from a number of perspectives.

If you are dealing with chronic kidney disease and you believe that you are a victim of medical negligence, obtain the advice and insights of an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can explain your legal rights and options, and if necessary, advocate on your behalf. In all fifty states, the victims of negligence – who can prove they are victims of negligence – are entitled by law to complete compensation for their injuries, losses, and suffering.

Kidney Disease On The Rise In The U.S.

Posted on: August 19, 2017 by in Blog
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If you have been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, you cannot afford to deal with careless or negligent healthcare providers. If you become a victim of medical malpractice while seeking kidney disease treatment, discuss your legal rights and options with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who is familiar with kidney disease and its consequences. Kidney disease treatment has advanced significantly in less than a century, and there’s no reason for kidney disease patients to suffer needlessly.

That wasn’t the case in the 1930s, when Dr. Willem Kolff first began developing an artificial kidney. Prior to that decade and prior to Dr. Kolff’s work, chronic kidney disease was inevitably a death sentence for most patients. During the next three decades, Dr. Kolff and other researchers developed the kidney dialysis procedure, a landmark medical breakthrough that now allows millions around the world to live with kidney injuries and failures.

The demand for kidney research and kidney disease research continues to grow in the 21st century. The World Health Organization reports that chronic kidney disease is the number twelve cause of death in the world and is increasing globally by eight percent every year.

In the United States alone, about 40 million of us struggle with kidney disease, while about 650,000 of us are dealing with kidney failure. Diabetes and high blood pressure are major contributors to what can only be described as a global and national kidney disease epidemic.

WHAT DOES THE U.S. SPEND ON KIDNEY DISEASE RESEARCH?

Earlier this year, a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) showed that funding for kidney research and kidney disease prevention lags far behind the billions spent for research on other diseases.

The National Institute of Health spends less than half-a-billion dollars – from a $30 billion budget – on kidney disease studies, yet kidney disease still afflicts 40 million patients in the U.S. Despite the extent of the kidney disease epidemic, only about $14 per patient is marked for kidney disease research in the United States. More can be done.

Action needs to be quick, because the number of kidney disease sufferers continues to grow. In 2017, almost one in ten adults in the U.S. is struggling with diabetes, while a third of adults deal with high blood pressure. Those percentages likely mean millions more kidney disease patients in the years ahead.

More investment in research is imperative for saving lives and reducing the pressure that kidney disease puts on Medicare and the healthcare system as a whole. This year, Congress can invest in kidney research that could benefit millions of kidney disease patients in our country.

WHAT IS THE PROPOSAL NOW BEING CONSIDERED BY CONGRESS?

The proposed Chronic Kidney Disease Improvement in Research and Treatment Act of 2017 would amend the current law that does not allow Medicare beneficiaries under age 65 who are on kidney dialysis to purchase Medigap, the supplemental insurance that covers the twenty percent of costs that Medicare does not pay.

Patients who require dialysis now pay about $7,200 a year just for their dialysis treatments, which are usually required three times a week. Additionally, these patients must deal with the out-of-pocket expense of visits to a doctor and services such as diabetic care.

Sponsored by Representatives Tom Marino of Pennsylvania, John Lewis of Georgia, and Peter Roskam of Illinois, the proposal would fund additional new research to enhance kidney disease treatment technologies. The bill also includes provisions to improve home dialysis services and palliative care services. Lawmakers can – and should – act on this proposed legislation before the end of the year.

Early and accurate diagnosis is imperative for every kidney disease patient. Anyone with a family history of kidney disease, and everyone age sixty and over, should be tested regularly for chronic kidney disease. Another threat that kidney disease patients may face is medical malpractice, which the Journal of the American Medical Association has identified as the number three cause of death in the United States.

The number of deaths caused by preventable errors in hospitals in the U.S. may be as high as 100,000 a year, according to several studies. Medical malpractice costs us more than $3.6 billion every year in the United States.

IF YOU ARE A MEDICAL MALPRACTICE VICTIM, WHERE CAN YOU TURN?

When a doctor does not accurately diagnose someone’s kidney disease, the delay in treatment may exacerbate that patient’s condition, leading to severe complications. If you are a kidney disease patient who has been misdiagnosed in the past – or if you are misdiagnosed in the future – discuss your rights and options with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. You may be able to recover monetary damages by pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The victims of medical malpractice are entitled by law to monetary compensation, but proving medical malpractice isn’t easy. Victims will need the sound advice and aggressive legal advocacy that only an experienced medical malpractice attorney who exclusively represents kidney disease patients can provide. If you’re a kidney disease patient and a victim of medical malpractice, you’ve been victimized twice. An experienced medical malpractice attorney can help.

Healthy kidneys are essential. If your kidneys do not work properly due to chronic kidney disease, you are at risk for a number of health problems. Kidney disease can almost always be detected easily with inexpensive laboratory testing, and an accurate and early diagnosis can often minimize the effects of kidney disease without a patient necessarily progressing to end-stage kidney failure. The diagnosis, however, must be accurate, and the treatment recommendation must be sound.

The kinds of medical mistakes that kidney disease patients face include misdiagnosis and a failure to diagnose, inappropriate treatments, improper prescriptions, unneeded surgeries, and surgical mistakes. Medical malpractice is defined by the law as the negligence of a healthcare professional that causes a decline in a patient’s medical condition, causes additional injury to the patient, or is responsible for a patient’s wrongful death.

While millions live with kidney disease in the United States, research tells us that far too many kidney disease patients are – or will be – the victims of medical malpractice. If you or someone you love has been a victim of misdiagnosis or any other medical malpractice while seeking treatment for kidney disease, speak to an experienced medical malpractice attorney to learn more about your rights, your recourse, and your options for taking legal action.

Workplace Accommodations When You Have Kidney Disease

Posted on: July 23, 2017 by in Blog
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Chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients are sometimes the victims of medical malpractice, and when they are, they’ll need the advice and services of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. A misdiagnosis, a wrong prescription, or a surgical mistake can dramatically and negatively impact a CKD patient’s health, and when that happens, that patient is entitled to compensation – and to justice. Medical malpractice, however, is not always the only legal concern that a CKD patient has to face. Kidney disease patients who want to remain in the workforce sometimes encounter employment discrimination.

Chronic kidney disease is usually managed rather than cured. When CKD is diagnosed early and accurately, progress from the early stages to advanced kidney disease can be slowed, and most CKD patients are able to avoid the need for kidney dialysis or a kidney transplant. When CKD patients adhere to the advice of their doctors, most are able to maintain normal lives, keep their jobs, and manage CKD with only minor inconveniences.

Still, thousands in the United States are living with kidney failure. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, about 430,000 people in the U.S. are on kidney dialysis, and approximately 185,000 have received a kidney transplant. For decades, disability rights advocates have acted to protect the rights of working people who struggle with chronic diseases and other disabilities. Those rights are now safeguarded by a number of important federal laws.

WHAT LAWS PROTECT WORKERS WITH CHRONIC DISEASES?

The Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1991, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 provide substantial legal protections to working persons who struggle with chronic diseases and other disabling conditions. These federal statutes also spell out the guidelines for employer compliance. The law makes it easier for anyone who is struggling with CKD to stay in the work force and to live a more-or-less normal life.

Of course, if you are back at work after a kidney transplant or after beginning dialysis, you and your employer may have to make some reasonable and slight adjustments. Your schedule may need to be re-arranged for dialysis treatments. Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis patients may require a private and sterile area.

Some CKD patients may simply need less strenuous responsibilities. Federal law requires employers to make “reasonable” accommodations. You may feel reticent about asking for something special. Don’t. Reasonable accommodations are your right.

Thousands of CKD patients, dialysis patients, and transplant recipients work part time or full time throughout the United States. Others pursue their educations, raise their children, and volunteer in their communities. Many who start dialysis or receive a transplant want to work and want to return to their everyday routines as soon as possible. Others may need some time off to adjust to kidney dialysis or to recuperate from surgery.

Either way, if you need for your employer to make one or more reasonable accommodations, you need to ask your employer for those accommodations. Most employers know the law and are prepared to comply, but your employer cannot know what you need until you ask. Your employer also may not know that employers can earn tax credits by making certain accommodations to the workplace.

WHAT DOES THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT REQUIRE?

There may also be questions about your health benefits. If your employer seems worried or confused, your doctor or someone else providing your healthcare can probably provide the details about your illness and abilities that will relieve your employer’s concerns.

If your employer is a business with fifteen or more employees, your employer is required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to make reasonable accommodations that employees may need, such as:

  • allowing for flexible schedules if possible
  • reassigning a worker to less strenuous work if it is available
  • providing handicapped access to rest rooms, parking areas, and work areas
  • reassigning some of your tasks to others

If you work for at least twenty weeks in a year for an employer with fifty or more employees, you may be eligible for leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows up to twelve weeks of job-protected but unpaid leave for medical reasons. Employers may request medical documentation verifying an employee’s kidney disease and condition, but an employee cannot be penalized for taking medical leave that the employee is entitled to by law. Immediate family members of CKD patients are entitled to the same leave if they need that time off to care for their family member.

If you believe that you are a victim of employment discrimination because of your kidney disease and accommodation needs, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recommends that you should first go through whatever procedures the company has established.

Usually, this involves filing a written grievance detailing the discrimination and submitting a copy to management or the HR department. Union members should take their complaints to their locals. Always make and keep copies of your complaint, any responses to it, and any other pertinent documents.

CAN CKD PATIENTS RECEIVE DISABILITY BENEFITS?

When someone can’t work because of chronic kidney disease, disability benefits may be available. The Federal government offers Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI provides monthly benefits when someone is unable to work for at least a year due to a disability. The amount of the benefit depends on your work history and your previous Social Security payments. SSI benefits, however, are based on financial need.

Whether you are managing chronic kidney disease in its early stages, dealing with kidney dialysis, or living with a transplanted kidney, your life is full of potential legal challenges and obstacles when you have a kidney disease. Employment discrimination is one of those challenges. Obtaining benefits is another. Don’t hesitate to reach out for an attorney’s help to deal with either of these challenges.

Medical malpractice is also more common than you might think, and CKD sufferers are the frequent victims of medical negligence. If you believe that you are a victim of medical malpractice as a chronic kidney disease patient, let an experienced medical malpractice attorney review the particulars of your case, explain your rights, and provide the sound legal advice you need.

Chronic Kidney Disease and Medication Errors: What To Look For

Posted on: June 23, 2017 by in Blog
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More people today in the United States are dying from drug complications and overdoses than from traffic accidents. Sadly, it is a trend that’s being driven by the pain and anxiety medications such as Vicodin, Xanax, and other drugs that are commonly used by chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients.

According to the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, dosing errors occur frequently in patients with CKD, particularly in the disease’s later stages when the body has a harder time processing drugs and other toxic metabolites. Dosing errors over the last two decades have disturbingly increased the death rate for CKD patients who are in their 50s and 60s.

If you struggle with chronic kidney disease, has medical malpractice made your condition worse? Chronic kidney disease is usually manageable with early and accurate diagnosis and proper treatment, but if a doctor prescribes the wrong drug or the wrong dosage – or if a pharmacist accidentally gives you the wrong drug – your health could quickly deteriorate, and at that point, you may want to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney regarding your legal rights and options, which could include a medical malpractice lawsuit.

EXACTLY WHAT CONSTITUTES MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?

When healthcare professionals do not provide what the profession considers a reasonable standard of care, those professionals are negligent. If that negligence results in your injury, you are a victim of medical malpractice, and you are entitled under the law in every state to full financial compensation, but you’ll need an attorney’s help to obtain that compensation. You can be compensated for your additional medical care and related expenses, for lost income and lost earning potential, and in some cases for your pain and suffering too.

A number of treatments are available for chronic kidney disease. The appropriate treatment depends of the exact kind of kidney disease and how early the disease is detected. Steroids are effective for some kidney diseases, and prescription pharmaceuticals are commonly used to treat several kinds of kidney diseases. No medicine can reverse CKD, but drugs are used to help treat symptoms and complications and to slow further kidney damage.

The medicines that are used to treat the symptoms and complications of chronic kidney disease include:

  • erythropoietin therapy and iron replacement (pills or intravenous iron) for anemia
  • medicines for electrolyte imbalances
  • diuretics to treat fluid buildup
  • ACE inhibitors and ARBs: These may be prescribed if you have too much protein in your urine (proteinuria). Regular blood tests are needed to ensure that ACE inhibitors and ARBs do not raise potassium levels or reduce kidney function even more.

CAN CKD PATIENTS HELP DOCTORS AVOID MEDICATIONS ERRORS?

Both erythropoietin therapy and iron replacement therapy are prescribed during dialysis for anemia, which often accompanies advanced chronic kidney disease. Erythropoietin stimulates the production of red blood cells and may reduce any need for transfusions. Iron replacement therapy can help increase iron levels in the body when erythropoietin therapy alone is ineffective.

Chronic kidney disease and dialysis patients can help to improve their health and help to limit any risk of dosage errors by adhering to these suggestions offered by the FDA:

1 – Find out what drugs are being prescribed to you and why. Have the doctor clearly pronounce the name of the drug for you in case there is any confusion with the pharmacist.

2 – If you are in the hospital, ask your doctor – or have a friend or family member ask for you – what drugs you are being given and why.

3 – Learn how the medication should be taken, and be certain that you understand the directions. If you are directed to take a drug three times daily, does that mean precisely at eight-hours intervals, or does it mean taking the drug with your meals? Should the prescription be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature? Are there other medications, foods, or drinks that you should avoid while taking the prescription?

4 – Always look carefully for any special instructions, and ask your doctor and pharmacist if there is anything else you need to know about any drug that is prescribed to you.

5 – Ask about a medication’s side effects, what you should expect, and what to do about the side effects when you experience them.

6 – Every time you take a medicine, read the label. That helps to ensure that you’ll avoid mistakes. In the middle of the night, or if your vision is poor, you could confuse ear drops with eye drops or take a vitamin when you think you’re taking a painkiller. Have the lights on and read the label every time.

7 – If you have trouble keeping several different prescriptions organized, ask your pharmacist about the plastic containers that have different sections for different drugs and different days. Your pharmacist may be able to recommend something that works for other patients or something that’s just right for you. Family members can also help by not letting you forget to take your medicines at the right times.

8 – Make a list of every drug that you take, including prescribed medicines, over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, vitamins, medicinal herbs, and any other substances you take, including alcohol, tobacco, and/or cannabis. Share this list with your doctor and pharmacist. Don’t forget items like vitamins, laxatives, creams, and ointments.

9 – Ask questions, don’t forget to ask questions, and always remember to ask questions. If in doubt, ask questions. You want to keep problems from happening before they become problems. For example, if your pills look different when your prescription is refilled, ask why. Also, be sure to ask why if you’re given a different or new drug or new directions for using a drug. It’s always better to be cautious. There’s nothing at all wrong with being known as “the patient who always asks lots of questions.”

HOW COMMON ARE MEDICATION ERRORS?

Medication errors cause at least one death every day and injure more than one million people every year in the United States. When you’re dealing with chronic kidney disease, you expect that the drugs you take should be helping you. If they harm you, you’ve probably been prescribed the wrong medicine or the wrong dosage, and at that point, you are probably a victim of medical malpractice.

An experienced medical malpractice attorney can fight for the monetary compensation that a malpractice victim needs and for the justice a victim deserves. If you or someone you love is struggling with chronic kidney disease and becomes a victim of medical malpractice, speak immediately to an experienced medical malpractice attorney regarding the case, your rights, and your legal options.

What Are The Stages Of Chronic Kidney Disease?

Posted on: May 23, 2017 by in Blog
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When chronic kidney disease (CKD) is diagnosed early and accurately, its advance from the early stages to the later stages can be slowed and sometimes even stopped. However, far too many CKD patients do not obtain an early diagnosis or appropriate treatment.

As a result, CKD patients may suffer and sometimes die unnecessarily. A doctor’s failure to detect or treat CKD, the late detection or improper treatment of CKD, and the failure to refer a CKD patient to a specialist when it’s called for – all of these may constitute medical malpractice.

When someone suffers from chronic kidney disease, that person’s kidneys seldom fail all at once or unexpectedly. Rather, chronic kidney disease usually progresses at a slow pace over a period of years. This is actually helpful to patients because if CKD is diagnosed early, treatments and lifestyle adjustments can impair its progress and keep patients feeling healthy – and living normal lives – for years, and in some cases, for decades.

Kidneys filter the blood to remove waste products and toxins, and they secrete important hormones that we require for healthy red blood cells, strong bones, and proper blood pressure regulation. The kidneys also remove excess water and calcium from the body.

The stages of chronic kidney disease are determined by the “glomerular filtration rate.” It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Glomerular filtration is simply the process of the kidneys filtering the blood to remove excess fluids and wastes.

HOW IS THE GLOMERULAR FILTRATION RATE DETERMINED?

The glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is a measurement that indicates how well blood is being filtered by the kidneys, and it’s one of the several ways to measure kidney efficiency. The GFR is determined by a formula that considers a patient’s age, gender, and creatinine levels.

Creatinine is a chemical waste molecule that forms as a result of muscle metabolism. Creatinine moves through the blood to the kidneys, which filter out most of the creatinine, which is then expelled in the urine.

Because the human body’s muscle mass barely changes from one day to the next, creatinine production remains essentially unchanged from day to day. When the kidneys are impaired for any reason, the creatinine level in the blood rises because the efficiency of the kidneys has declined. Thus, rising creatinine levels are a generally dependable warning sign of chronic kidney disease.

Standard blood tests measure the level of creatinine in the blood. However, if test results are misinterpreted or not even recognized – due to insufficient medical training, overwork, and stress, or for any other reason – specialists may not be consulted, the appropriate treatment may not be ordered, and a CKD patient’s health can rapidly deteriorate. The failure to read test results properly or to order referrals or treatment based on those test results may constitute medical malpractice.

HOW CAN YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE A VICTIM OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?

If you believe that your own kidney disease has been misdiagnosed or that you have not received the proper treatment for CKD, discuss your situation promptly with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Medical malpractice is the violation of the “reasonable standard of care” provided by most doctors, but it’s often difficult for the average person to know if he or she has been a medical malpractice victim. An experienced kidney diseases lawyer can review your case, provide candid legal advice, and explain your options, which may include a medical malpractice lawsuit.

The exact formula for determining a patient’s GFR – for those who are mathematically inclined – is 140 minus the patient’s age in years, times the patient’s weight in kilograms (or times 0.85 for women), divided by 72 times the creatinine level in milligrams per deciliter (or mg/dL). The lower the GFR number, the more inefficient the kidney function.

While a patient with a GFR of 60 for three months or longer, for example, is very likely to be a victim of kidney disease, for some categories of patients – amputees, the obese, the very young and the very old – the GFR may not be a reliable indicator of kidney health.

To improve the treatment of chronic kidney disease patients, the National Kidney Foundation (NKD) has established guidelines to help doctors and patients recognize and understand each stage of the disease. The National Kidney Foundation guidelines recognize five different stages of CKD. Each stage requires different tests and treatments.

Listed here are the stages of chronic kidney disease as spelled out by the NKD, along with the GFR numbers that are expected with each stage:

Stage 1: Early CKD (with a normal or high GFR of 90 or higher)
Stage 2: Mild CKD (GFR of 60 to 89)
Stage 3A: Mild to Moderate CKD (GFR of 45 to 59)
Stage 3B: Moderate to Severe CKD (GFR of 30 to 44)
Stage 4: Severe CKD (GFR of 15 to 29)
Stage 5: End Stage CKD (a GFR measurement below 15)

Chronic kidney disease treatment in the first four stages concentrates on maintaining kidney function for as long as possible. If chronic kidney disease progresses to the final stage – end stage renal disease or ESRD – a patient will discuss with his or her doctor treatment options that include kidney dialysis and a kidney transplant. More than 600,000 people in the United States have end stage renal disease, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE?

While medical malpractice cannot cause chronic kidney disease, any failure to obtain a precise and early diagnosis and appropriate treatment for CKD can lead directly to acute renal failure. When healthcare providers do not provide the “reasonable standard of care,” they are negligent. If that negligence causes a patient to be injured, the patient is entitled by law to monetary compensation and has the right to sue for medical malpractice.

Chronic kidney disease patients who are injured by medical malpractice can be reimbursed for their lost income and any lost earning potential linked to the malpractice, any additional medical care and expenses required by the malpractice, and in some cases, patients can be additionally compensated for their malpractice-related pain and suffering.

Victims of medical negligence are entitled to compensation, but compensation isn’t just handed to victims. If you are a kidney disease patient and a victim of medical malpractice, you’ll need to work alongside an experienced kidney diseases attorney who can fight for justice on your behalf.

What To Do When A Kidney Transplant Fails

Posted on: April 24, 2017 by in Blog
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A diagnosis of chronic kidney disease means that a person’s kidneys are damaged and cannot filter blood and wastes the way they should. This damage can cause wastes to build up in the body. Kidney disease can cause other health problems, such as heart disease. If you have kidney disease, it increases your chances of a stroke or a heart attack. If it’s not treated, the eventual result is complete kidney failure.

Our kidneys protect us by functioning as a “filtering” system for our bodies. Kidney disease happens when a kidney begins to stop filtering wastes. While astounding progress has been made, kidney disease still impacts roughly 26 million adults in the United States. The primary risk factors for kidney disease are diabetes, high blood pressure, and a family history of kidney disease, but everyone over the age of 60 should be considered at risk for kidney disease.

In most cases, with an early and accurate diagnosis, kidney disease can be treated and managed successfully. When kidney disease is diagnosed early, the standard treatment is a drug from the family of drugs called ACE inhibitors or another family called ARB drugs. Careful management of high blood pressure and diabetes may also help to prevent kidney disease or keep it from progressing.

WHAT IS THE SUCCESS RATE FOR KIDNEY TRANSPLANTS?

Sometimes, however, and especially if it’s untreated or wrongly diagnosed, kidney disease progresses to complete kidney failure, requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant procedure. More than 468,000 patients receive kidney dialysis in the U.S., and approximately 193,000 people are living in U.S. with a transplanted kidney. 17,600 kidneys were transplanted in the United States in 2013. While the success rate of kidney transplants is quite high, there’s little discussion about what happens when kidney transplants fail.

Approximately seven percent of the kidney transplants in the U.S. fail within a year; seventeen percent fail within three years. And it’s almost impossible to find anything in writing that helps patients and their families cope with a kidney transplant failure.

Many patients end up seeking a second transplant, and twenty percent of kidney transplant operations in the U.S. each year are in fact “re-transplants.” Why do kidney transplants fail? A kidney transplant may fail for one of these reasons:

1. Clotting: When the blood vessels leading to a transplanted kidney clot, the kidney receives no blood. Clotting sometimes happens immediately after the transplant surgery.

2. Infection: If it’s not found and treated at once, an infection can permanently damage a kidney.

3. Fluid collection: If fluid collects around a kidney, without prompt treatment, the pressure can cause serious damage.

4. Problems with donated kidneys: Sometimes unexpected problems emerge with a donor’s kidney, and the kidney never does function properly.

5. Medication’s side effects: A number of drugs can seriously harm the kidneys.

6. Disease recurrence: While it is extremely rare, in some cases the original disease that damaged a kidney re-emerges and damages the transplanted kidney.

7. Acute Rejection: Acute rejection is also extremely rare, when the body rejects a transplanted kidney immediately after surgery.

8. Chronic Rejection: Chronic rejection is simply a result of the long-term damage done by the body’s immune system. Chronic rejection is the leading reason for kidney transplant failures.

9. Patient non-compliance: Unfortunately, a kidney transplant patient may sometimes be responsible for a transplant failure because he or she stops taking or forgets to take the anti-rejection drugs required after transplant surgery. Without those drugs, the body rejects and damages the transplanted kidney. Patient non-compliance may also include missing medical appointments, lab tests, and forgetting or avoiding other treatments.

Most kidney transplant patients are more than willing to comply with all of a doctor’s orders and recommendations after transplant surgery. They want to be healthy, and they want to take care of themselves after receiving a kidney.

Frankly, patient non-compliance is quite rare, and most kidney transplant failures occur for medical reasons that have nothing to do with a patient’s behavior. Obviously, those patients whose transplants fail are disappointed when they learn that they must return to dialysis, but they can usually get right back on the waiting list.

IS ANYONE “AT FAULT” WHEN A KIDNEY TRANSPLANT FAILS?

Of course, kidney transplant recipients must follow prescribed treatments, take prescribed medications, schedule regular checkups, and seek medical attention when they don’t feel well. Still, a transplant patient who does everything right may experience a transplant failure.

Most kidney disease and kidney transplant patients receive the highest-quality medical care from diligent, dedicated doctors and healthcare professionals. Just as a transplant failure is rarely the patent’s fault, it’s rarely the doctor’s fault either.

Even so, kidney disease patients can become the victims of medical malpractice for a number of reasons, and if you struggle with kidney disease, medical malpractice can make your condition worse. An inaccurate early diagnosis or the wrong prescription or treatment can constitute medical malpractice that leads to kidney failure, dialysis, or the necessity for a transplant. The failure to receive a correct, early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can sometimes lead straight to acute renal failure.

WHAT ARE HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS REQUIRED TO PROVIDE?

All healthcare professionals must provide their patients with a “reasonable” standard of care. They are not obligated to order every possible medical test, but they are expected to provide the competent and professional medical care that other doctors would provide in similar circumstances.

As a kidney disease patient, you might be victimized by medical malpractice at almost any point in your treatment – from an initial misdiagnosis to a mistake in the operating room during a kidney transplant procedure.

If you have been harmed by medical malpractice as a kidney disease patient – or if you’re not sure that what happened to you constitutes medical malpractice – discuss the details with an experienced medical malpractice attorney who can explain your legal rights and options. When healthcare professionals do not provide a reasonable standard of care, they are negligent, and an injured victim of medical negligence may file a medical malpractice claim.

Medical malpractice victims – who can prove that they are medical malpractice victims – are entitled by law to full reimbursement for all necessary additional medical care, all related expenses, and in some cases for their pain and suffering as well after an incident of medical malpractice. Not every medical mistake or transplant failure is the result of malpractice, but an experienced medical malpractice attorney can examine your own case to determine if medical malpractice has occurred.

Researchers Discover Potential Treatment For Polycystic Kidney Disease

Posted on: March 22, 2017 by in Blog
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Healthy kidneys are essential for everyone. If your kidneys don’t function properly, you’ll be at risk for a variety of other health problems that can include nerve damage, heart disease, bone disease, and infertility. However, for most people, a precise and early diagnosis can often reduce and sometimes even reverse the consequences of kidney disease.

In other cases, early diagnosis and proper treatment can help patients manage their kidney disease so that it does not progress to end-stage kidney failure. For every kidney disease patient, an early and accurate diagnosis is imperative. A doctor’s failure to diagnose kidney disease may harm a patient’s health and may constitute medical malpractice. If you are a kidney disease sufferer and you are concerned about malpractice or believe that you may be a victim – or if you’ve been harmed or injured while seeking kidney disease treatment – you should discuss your concerns and circumstances with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

Approximately 600,000 people in the United States are afflicted with polycystic kidney disease (PKD), a genetic disorder that causes abnormal cysts to develop and grow in the kidneys. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the cysts typically cause back pain, high blood pressure, problems with blood vessels in the heart and brain, and eventually lead to kidney failure. Polycystic kidney disease is a general term for these two types of kidney disease: autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) and autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD).

PKD is the world’s most frequently inherited kidney disease, affecting about 12.5 million persons globally. It is responsible for nearly ten percent of all cases of end-stage renal disease. Fifty percent of PKD patients suffer complete kidney failure by age 60. PKD affects men, women, and children of all ages and races equally. Polycystic kidney disease causes abnormal kidney growth due to the proliferation of fluid-filled cysts. These cysts continue to expand and grow until the kidney no longer functions properly and loses its capacity to filter blood and remove bodily waste.

WHAT HAVE RESEARCHERS RECENTLY DISCOVERED ABOUT PKD?

PKD has been considered incurable, but researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center have found what may be an effective new treatment. Their research was published in Nature Communications in February. Assistant professor Vishal Patel, who was the senior author of the study, says the drug that may cure PKD is called RGLS4326, which is currently in the clinical testing stage.

The researchers tell us that polycystic kidney disease patients may unknowingly have the disease for many years until a symptom – like blood in the urine, for example – shows up. Until now, no drug has been available to treat polycystic kidney disease. When the disease reaches the point of complete kidney failure, the only options until now have been kidney dialysis and kidney transplants.

Dr. Patel’s research led him, back in 2009, to investigate microRNAs (called “MiRs”) that might offer researchers a better understanding of PKD. MiRs are extremely tiny strands of RNA – ribonucleic acid – that can interfere with normal genes. Kidney researchers became interested in MiRs in the 1990s, reasoning that if MiRs are responsible for PKD, then creating an “anti-MiR” with the exact opposite chemical sequence should neutralize the effect of MiRs on kidneys. In a 2013 research study, scientists discovered a microRNA sequence that they believe promotes the growth of kidney cysts, the “17~92” sequence.

In the current study led by Dr. Patel, researchers inhibited the 17~92 microRNA sequence in mice and found that the deletion of the 17~92 sequence not only slowed cyst growth but extended – in fact, almost doubled – the lifespan of the mice. “In support of this conclusion,” Dr. Patel’s researchers write, “we show that genetic deletion of miR-17∼92 attenuates disease progression in ADPKD mouse models irrespective of the mutated gene, the type of mutation (null or hypomorphic) or the dynamics of cyst growth (rapidly fatal, aggressive but long-lived or slowly progressing).”

WHAT DID EARLIER PKD RESEARCH FIND?

The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center’s research follows up on earlier PKD research conducted by the University College London Institute of Child Health. The London-based researchers noted that tiny blood vessels surrounding the cysts are altered very early in cyst development. They targeted the blood and lymphatic vessels inside the kidneys of mice with a growth protein called VEGFC.

The blood vessel patterns quickly normalized and the function of the kidneys improved. The researchers in London published their results in 2015 in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. “If we could target these blood vessels early in the development of the condition it could potentially lead to much better outcomes for patients,” according to Adrian Woolf, who is a professor of pediatric science and was the co-author of the study.

Because polycystic kidney disease is caused by an inherited gene, it is not preventable. If one parent carries the gene, a child has a fifty percent chance of developing PKD. Inevitably, if someone carries the PKD gene, he or she will develop the disease at some point in his or her life. Although there is no cure at the present time, RGLS4326 and VEGFC offer real hope for the immediate future.

WHAT IF PKD IS MISDIAGNOSED?

While there is no PKD cure for now, treatments and surgeries can help those who struggle with PKD manage the pain and deal with the infections associated with the condition. However, the misdiagnosis of PKD can lead to a swift deterioration of a patient’s medical condition, and such a misdiagnosis may constitute medical malpractice. When you receive a routine medical examination, urine tests and blood tests are standard. Those test results should indicate to your doctor if you are in the early stages of kidney disease.

If you are a PKD patient and you have been misdiagnosed or otherwise victimized by medical negligence, speak at once with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Kidney disease patients are entitled to full compensation for any injuries they suffer as a result of medical malpractice. A medical malpractice lawsuit is often the only way to hold a healthcare professional accountable for carelessness or negligence.

The importance of an early and accurate diagnosis of kidney disease cannot be overstated. Some people don’t even realize they have kidney trouble until that trouble becomes severe, but with the proper medical approach, PKD can be diagnosed accurately and managed effectively. However, when a doctor fails to diagnose any kidney disease accurately or fails to treat kidney disease appropriately, it may constitute the kind of medical malpractice that puts a patient’s life at risk. If you are the victim of medical malpractice involving PKD or any other type of kidney disease, don’t wait – discuss your situation promptly with an experienced medical malpractice attorney.

The symptoms of kidney disease include blood in the urine, foamy urine, or discolored urine; high blood pressure; and/or the swelling of the hands and ankles. If you are over age 60, if you suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart disease, or if there is a history of kidney disease in your family, get tested for kidney disease, even if you feel healthy. In its earliest stages, kidney disease manifests no definitive signs or symptoms. Without a precise early diagnosis, a patient’s kidney disease may become more difficult and burdensome to manage or treat.

If you suffer from kidney disease, and if medical professionals did not accurately diagnose or treat your condition from the start, speak at once with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. New treatments and breakthroughs are providing plenty of hope for the victims of polycystic kidney disease, but even when these treatments become widely available, PKD patients will still need to seek an accurate early diagnosis and receive the proper treatment.

Research Suggests Protein Deficiency May Be Responsible For Chronic Kidney Disease

Posted on: February 22, 2017 by in Blog
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Millions of us in the United States and an estimated 200 million people around the world struggle with chronic kidney disease (CKD). It’s a condition that emerges incrementally over a number of years. Anyone can develop chronic kidney disease, and it’s a growing concern in the United States. New research, however, points to a circulating protein that may be responsible for the decline in kidney function.

Our kidneys filter the wastes and extra water from our blood. When chronic kidney disease emerges, the kidneys cannot filter the blood properly. Chronic kidney disease cannot be “cured,” but if it is detected in its early stages, it can often be adequately managed with the proper medications. If kidney disease is not properly treated, a complete kidney failure is eventually inevitable.

A team of researchers at the Tufts Medical Center studied the link between levels of a protein called soluble klotho and kidney function. The research was published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. Researchers state that “CKD appears to be a condition of soluble klotho deficiency.” Decreased blood levels of the protein were linked with a higher likelihood of declining kidney function in a group elderly, well-functioning adults.

HOW WAS THE RESEARCH CONDUCTED?

Researchers assayed serum soluble klotho in 2,496 participants in the National Institutes of Health’s ongoing “Health, Aging, and Body Composition” study, evaluating the link between soluble klotho and the emergence of chronic kidney disease over a ten-year follow-up period. The average age of the participants was 75. Just over half – 52 percent – of the participants were women.

Lead researcher Dr. David Drew said, “We found a strong association between low soluble klotho and decline in kidney function, independent of many known risk factors for kidney function decline. This suggests that klotho could play a role in the development of chronic kidney disease, although additional research will need to confirm this. This also raises the possibility that klotho could be an important therapeutic target for future clinical trials.”

Specifically, for each two-fold higher level of soluble klotho, the scientists found a 20 percent lower risk of kidney function decline throughout the follow-up period. The researchers’ results did not change after adjustment for key variables including demographics, comorbidities, and a number of kidney disease risk factors. Higher levels of soluble klotho are associated independently with a reduced risk of declining kidney function.

HAS PREVIOUS RESEARCH LINKED PROTEIN LEVELS TO KIDNEY DISEASE?

The study of soluble klotho levels follows a 2015 study of another protein, TMIGD1, and its impact on kidney function. When researchers at Boston University reduced the TMIGD1 protein in kidney epithelial cells, the cells became more prone to injury. When they increased the levels of TMIGD1, the increase seemed to protect the cells from being injured. Researchers thus determined that increasing the level of the TMIGD1 protein reduces kidney epithelial cell death, thus possibly helping patients to avoid chronic kidney disease and declining kidney function.

Here in the United States, approximately 20 million of us suffer from chronic kidney disease, which, according to the Wall Street Journal, currently costs Medicare more than $41 billion every year. Many people don’t even know that they have chronic kidney disease until their kidney problems become severe. It’s imperative for chronic kidney disease sufferers to be swiftly and accurately diagnosed and to receive the appropriate medical treatment. With an early and accurate diagnosis, the progress from early-stage chronic kidney disease to complete renal failure can be slowed and in some cases halted altogether.

If a urine test finds blood and protein in a patient’s urine, it probably means chronic kidney disease, and the patient should be retested. If the same levels of blood and protein are found in a second test, the patient should be sent to a nephrologist – a kidney specialist. If a blood test finds a reduced protein level in a patient’s blood, the kidneys may not be adequately filtering the blood. A number of tests are available for identifying kidney disease, including:

  • tests for blood (hematuria) and protein (proteinuria) in the urine
  • blood tests for decreased protein, increased creatinine, and abnormal blood urea nitrogen
  • blood pressure measurements
  • glomerular filtration rate tests
  • MRIs, CT scans, and kidney biopsies

HOW IS MEDICAL MALPRACTICE DEFINED?

However, if a patient’s test results are misread or go unrecognized because a doctor has been inadequately trained – or for any other reason – that constitutes medical malpractice. In such circumstances specialists may not be consulted, treatment may not be ordered, and a patient’s health can rapidly decline. Medical malpractice is the violation of the “reasonable standard of care” provided by most doctors, but it’s often difficult for the average person to know if he or she is a victim of medical malpractice. A CKD patient may need to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney to determine if medical malpractice has occurred.

Every malpractice case is different, and any allegation of medical malpractice must be thoroughly considered from both the legal and medical angles. Providing a reasonable standard of care does not obligate doctors to order every possible test. Instead, physicians are expected to offer competent, professional care comparable to what other doctors would offer in similar situations:

  • Doctors should order the tests that are “reasonable” and standard.
  • Doctors should study the results of those tests in a timely manner.
  • In difficult cases, a doctor should consult a specialist.
  • If a chronic kidney disease is identified, the patient should be sent to a nephrologist.

If a doctor does not provide a reasonable standard of care, he or she may be considered negligent. If that negligence causes injury or harm to a patient, that patient is entitled to financial reimbursement and may file a medical malpractice claim. Medical malpractice victims can be compensated for lost income and earning capacity, for the cost of additional medical treatment, related expenses, and sometimes for pain and suffering as well.

Malpractice itself cannot cause kidney disease, but the failure of a patient to have an accurate early diagnosis and appropriate continuing treatment can lead directly to acute renal failure. Anyone who believes that medical malpractice has exacerbated his or her kidney disease – and anyone whose health has deteriorated after kidney treatment that should have improved it – should consult an experienced medical malpractice attorney regarding his or her rights and the possibility of legal action.

Is Heartburn Medicine Responsible For Kidney Complications?

Posted on: January 28, 2017 by in Blog
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Is your heartburn medicine bad for your kidneys? The use of certain heartburn drugs may increase the risk of developing kidney disease, according to research recently published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. The research is the most recent of several studies pointing to the risks associated with proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) that include Nexium®, Prilosec®, and Prevacid®. PPIs treat heartburn, indigestion, and acid reflux by reducing the amount of acid produced by the stomach.

Doctors and researchers aren’t exactly sure why PPIs appear to damage the kidneys, and there is still there is no direct proof that the heartburn medicines are responsible for kidney diseases. The researchers determined that patients using PPIs were more apt to suffer kidney disease or kidney failure over a five-year period than patients using other heartburn medicines. One of the researchers and a kidney specialist with the Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System, Dr. Ziyad Al-Aly admits, “I cannot say for certain that this is cause-and-effect.”

Despite the lack of a “smoking gun” that ties PPIs directly to kidney disease, Dr. Al-Aly recommends that patients should use PPIs only when it’s genuinely a medical necessity, and only for the shortest possible length of time. PPIs are usually effective heartburn remedies, so many people turn to them when they’re really not needed, or when the need is real, they use too much. “I think people see these medications at the drug store and assume they’re completely safe,” Dr. Al-Aly explained. “But there’s growing evidence they’re not as safe as we’ve thought.

WHAT SHOULD YOU KNOW ABOUT GERD?

One heartburn specialist agrees. Dr. F. Paul Buckley is the surgical director of the Heartburn & Acid Reflux Center at the Scott & White Clinic in Round Rock, Texas. Dr. Buckley says that for occasional heartburn, PPIs are not the appropriate medication. Before using PPIs, you should be certain that you are suffering gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), with stomach acids routinely rising into the esophagus.

Actually, according to figures from the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, about one in five adults in the United States suffers with GERD. Heartburn is a GERD symptom, and anyone who experiences heartburn twice or more a week may have GERD, according to the Institute. Dr. Buckley says that PPIs work well for patients with more serious reflux, and if someone has inflammation in the esophagus or an ulcer, PPIs can give those situations the opportunity to heal.

Previously, PPIs have been linked to an inflammatory kidney disease called acute interstitial nephritis, according to Dr. Pradeep Arora, an associate professor and nephrologist at the SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Science. Dr. Arora’s own study looked at more than 24,000 patients who developed chronic kidney disease between 2001 and 2008. The doctor says, “It is very reasonable to assume that PPIs themselves can cause chronic kidney disease.”

The recently published findings are derived from a study of more than 173,000 VA patients who were given a PPI and 20,000 other patients given heartburn drugs called H2-blockers. H2-blockers include Pepcid®, Tagamet®, and Zantac®. Over the study’s five-year period, 15 percent of the PPI users were diagnosed with a kidney disease but only 11 percent of those using H2-blockers were diagnosed with a kidney disease.

Fewer than 0.2 percent of the patients studied suffered end-stage renal failure, but the odds for end-stage renal failure were nearly doubled among the patients using PPIs. And according to Dr. Al-Aly, the risk of kidney disease grows as patients continue to use PPIs over time. Patients using the drugs for more than a year had three times the risk of kidney failure as those who used the drugs for a month or less.

HOW DO THESE DRUGS CAUSE OR EXACERBATE KIDNEY DISEASE?

How do PPIs cause or contribute to kidney disease – if they’re a factor at all? Previous research has linked PPIs with acute kidney inflammation, and some persons taking PPIs may develop kidney inflammation that leads to chronic kidney disease. Other researchers believe that PPIs reduce the body’s magnesium level and that a higher magnesium level is necessary for healthy kidneys. PPIs block stomach acids and reduce the body’s ability to absorb particular nutrients including magnesium.

Thousands of heartburn sufferers take proton pump inhibitors for heartburn without reporting any additional medical complications, but Dr. Buckley insists these people should be aware of the possible risks of PPIs, adding that, “They should also be aware we have really good alternatives.” Even TV’s Dr. Oz says, “Trouble is, up to two-thirds of people who take PPIs don’t really need them.”

If you suffer from a kidney disease and a physician prescribes the wrong medication, and if your condition declines as a result, you may be a victim of medical malpractice, and you should discuss your situation with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. With over twenty million chronic kidney disease sufferers in the United States, the opportunities for medical malpractice are abundant, and it happens much too often to kidney disease patients.

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE?

When someone struggles with chronic kidney disease, you rightly expect that the medications that are prescribed will help you. If they don’t, you’ve probably been given an improper medication, and you’re probably, at that point, a victim of medical malpractice. If you or someone close to you is struggling with kidney disease and becomes a medical malpractice victim, discuss your case, your rights, and your legal options with an experienced kidney diseases attorney.

The law precisely defines medical malpractice. It is a violation of the “reasonable standard of care” provided by most physicians and other healthcare professionals. Sometimes, it’s difficult for a kidney disease patient to know if he or she is a malpractice victim. Every medical malpractice case is different, and every claim of malpractice must be comprehensively examined from both the medical and legal perspectives.

If you don’t treat them, diseased or damaged kidneys may stop working – completely. Loss of kidney function is a serious and sometimes fatal condition. The good news is that a number of treatment alternatives are available for kidney disease patients, and there is no reason to avoid a test for CKD if you are in a high-risk group – if you are over 60, African-American, or have a family history of kidney disease. These include dialysis, kidney transplants, and more. For more info, head to The Kidney Foundation’s website.