Monday, April 12, 2010

Another test. No change

As three values from my last test results were suspiciously identical to the previous test my doctor suggested changing labs. An unexpected benefit of this is that the lab he recommended is about half the price of the one I'd been going to AND they send the results by e-mail (this is mind-warping efficiency for a Mexican business!).

Unfortunately the second lab gave exactly the same results as my last two tests:

Serum Creatinine 2.1mg/dL (normal is less than 1.5mg/dl)

This means that my kidney function isn't deteriorating (something I should be very grateful for) but it isn't getting better either. This is kind of consistent with the prevalent medical view that kidney tissue can't heal itself. Damn those doctors! I want a miracle!!

I paid another visit to my Nephrologist a few weeks ago and asked him all my questions. His responses were:

  • A biopsy isn't very useful when there is chronic (permanent) damage to the kidney's as the treatment is the same regardless of the cause.

  • It would be worth getting another ultrasound to see if there is any physical change in the kidneys. I've been curious to do this.

  • To test the blood bicarbonate level, and hence determine if treatment with sodium bicarbonate would be helpful, requieres an arterial blood sample and is not very common. It is a treatment that is considered at more advanced stages of disease.

  • It is possible that an intolerance to wheat caused the damage to the kidneys. Unfortunately he didn't give me any pointers about how to investigate this further. This is frustrating as obviously I don't want to eat wheat if it may cause further damage but on the other hand it is a major sacrifice to avoid it for no good reason!

  • He has seen cases of kidney function improving, and has even seen patients come OFF of dialysis, even though there is no medical explanation for this.

I watched an interesting presentation about kidney disease to a Medical Audience on YouTube:

The basic message I got from the video is that:
1. All kidneys with scarred kidney tissue continue to lose function over time at a constant rate.
2. The rate of decline varies a LOT from individual to individual.
3. ARB drugs (like Losartan which I'm taking) signifcantly helped reduce further scarring in lab rats (at least I think that´s what the result was - the presentation got a bit complex!)

So... it seems that the only sensible course of action is to do the few things that are known to reduce the rate of decline (low protein diet, normal blood pressure) and try and have as much fun as possible in whatever time I have left!