The Three Deadliest And Most Frequent Infections Faced By CKD Patients

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Studies typically rank infection second to Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) as a cause of death in those with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). Although a great deal of attention has been paid to CVD, not enough has been said about these infections which closely follow CVD in frequency and seriousness. In fact, despite improvements in infection control practices and dialysis techniques, bacterial and viral infections are a major cause of morbidity and mortality among patients on long-term Hemodialysis (HD) and Peritoneal Dialysis (PD). 

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The CKD population is predisposed to adverse infectious events because of overwhelming uremia, which is associated with changes in the immune system which increases the risk of bacterial infections. These immune system disorders are complicated by the use of immunosuppressive drugs to treat and control underlying diseases and exacerbated by nutritional deficiencies, the dialysis procedure, and disruption of skin and mucus barriers to infection.

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Within the CKD population patients in the different treatment modalities are susceptible to similar infections, but individual modalities lead to infectious complications of varying magnitude. Still, the most harmful infections to people with CKD are Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), bacteria sepsis (diagnosed four times more often in CKD patients), and pneumonia (three times greater in the CKD population). 

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 The higher UTI susceptibility in the CKD group may be explained by a greater incidence of urinary obstructions which leads to infections. The urinary tract is often not recognized as an important source of infection among dialysis patients because of their minimal urine output, but is one of the highest causes of hospitalization in people with CKD. The National Kidney Foundation suggest that Studies show by drinking a glass of cranberry juice each day individuals may help prevent UTIs. New research also suggests a similar effect from other cranberry products, including dried cranberries and dietary supplements. This is due to the fact that cranberries contain compounds that may stop certain bacteria from attaching to the urinary tract wall. For those with diabetes or at-risk for diabetes, low-sugar or sugar-free options are available.

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Also, CKD patients have much higher annual mortality rates caused by sepsis and is 100 to 300 fold higher in dialysis patients. Sepsis can become serious quickly and severe cases have a 28- to 50-percent mortality rate. The type of vascular access in use plays an important role in the subsequent development of bloodstream infections. Central venous catheters significantly increase the risk of bacteremia such as sepsis in HD patients. Those with CKD should also consider receiving a vaccination to avoid the infection. If you have a severe fever be sure to contact your Nephrologists immediately. 

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Rates of pneumonia vaccination are surprisingly low in the CKD population. However studies suggest that there is little doubt that people with all stages of CKD are at a "substantial" risk for pneumonia. Hence, KidneyBuzz.com recommends that you should discuss with your Nephrologists the possibility of taking a pneumonia vaccination. What's more is that your biggest protection against deadly diseases is to continually educate yourself on methods to avoid infectious complications and share the critical information with those close to you.  

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References: 

"Top Five Ways To Prevent A UTI." Http://www.kidney.org/. National Kidney Foundation.

Naqvi, Sakina B., and Allan J. Collins. "Infectious Complications In Chronic Kidney Disease."Http://home.smh.com. National Kidney Foundation.