Coronavirus & kidneys: Key points

The disease caused by the coronavirus is known to damage the lungs. But, as more people become infected, we are developing more understanding of the virus and diseases caused by this virus.
This coronavirus (officially called SARS-CoV-2) can also cause severe and long-lasting harm in other organs, including the heart and kidneys. We will discuss how the new coronavirus might affect kidney function as the illness develops and its long-term consequences.
Some people suffering with COVID-19 have shown signs of kidney damage, even those who had no underlying kidney problems. Reports say that up to 30%-40% of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in China and New York developed moderate—severe kidney injury. Some reports in New York Hospitals suggest percentage can be higher.
The kidney damage can be severe enough to require dialysis. Some hospitals are running short on the machines and sterile fluids needed to perform these kidney procedures. Many patients who get very sick have pre-existing diabetes and hypertension which increase the chances of kidney disease.
How does COVID-19 damage the kidneys: It can damage kidneys by various mechanisms including:
-Virus might target kidney cells
-Too little oxygen supply to kidneys can cause damage.
-The immune response to the new coronavirus can be extreme, leading to what is called a cytokine storm. Cytokine storm can cause severe inflammation
-COVID-19 can cause blood clots which can clog the kidneys.
Coronavirus Kidney Damage: A Serious Sign: Organs like the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys support one another’s’ functions, so when the new coronavirus causes damage in one area, others might be at risk. The kidneys’ essential functions have direct impact on the heart, brain and lungs. That is why kidney damage arising in patients with COVID-19 is a possible warning sign of a serious or even fatal course of the disease.
Should I keep taking my high blood pressure medication?: Hypertension (high blood pressure) is a common cause and consequence of kidney problems. You may be reading news reports questioning the safety of taking certain medicines to manage their condition: ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). So far most of professional organizations recommend not change your medicines. But patients with kidney issues stay away from non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen. These can raise blood pressure and increase fluid volume in the body, which puts strain on the kidneys.
What can we do right now?: We know it’s been a really long year and we are all looking forward to good things in 2021. For now, the best advice is to keep doing following guidelines:
*Do not socialize with anyone outside your household.
*Wear a mask to protect yourself and others and stop the spread of COVID-19
*Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from others who don’t live with you, particularly in crowded areas
*Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
Eat healthy, exercise and stay positive.

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