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!


  1. I don't know if you came across this before or not, but I just read that baking soda can actually stop the progress of kidney disease. This looks really promising and I really wish it's true.

    It's also mentioned on many other websites. Just google for "baking soda kidney disease"

  2. @ Wal

    Yes, The tests show that Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) can be beneficial WHEN serum (blood) bicarbonate levels are low. To determine if levels are low requires a special blood test which my doctor didn't recommend for my current stage of kidney disease.

    However, I've been experimenting myself, taking about half a teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate a day (with grape juice it actually tastes quite good) but after about a month of this the test results don't show any improvement (though no disimprovement either...)

  3. @RBB

    Well, it wasn't mentioned that it improves the condition but it seems to slow down the decline considerably even in advanced cases (according to the article, almost to the normal age-related decline).

    Unfortunately, there's currently no effective treatment but you may keep an eye on this:

    Also this (watch the video):

  4. @Wal: You're quite right, nothing has been shown to reverse 'irreversible' kidney damage so I guess I should change my criterion about what "works" and what doesn't!

  5. @RBB

    Hold on my friend, I know how you feel but you're far from being alone. I just did the tests myself and now I'm waiting for the results.

    Science is advancing like never before (more importantly regenerative medicine) and I strongly believe that there will be a cure in the next few years. But of course this will very likely - but not necessarily - cost a lot of money, at least in the beginning. There's a lot of hope for the future, just try to save as much money as you can.

  6. i've been reading online about kidney issues and juicing. i have found a lot info on fasting on vegetable and fruit juices to repair the damage we have done to our bodies. i too, have a similar problem and am working on it as well. my challenge is to drink the juices only and not cheat. all i have been reading indicates that you can heal the cells with the juice. look into it.

  7. @leslie: Please research well, especially if your condition is severe. I tried juice fasting when I first discovered the problem. It was an interesting experience but I can't be sure if it helped my kidney condition or not.

    I did feel, however, that it kind of "reset" my body and helped me desire healthy foods more and unhealthy foods less.

    Good luck!

  8. There is one other thing to try...
    If you are absolutely sure you're avoiding all sources of gluten contamination non gf soy sauce, malt vinegar etc.

    And it's nasty. So check out point one first. This was/is WAY harder for me than giving up wheat - Casein has been known to have similar effects to wheat - it's a very similar molecule and although it's effects are usually not nearly as serious it may be stopping the healing process. Good luck!

  9. I had a kidney removed Oct. 2010.
    My remaining kidney is functioning at 35 percent. I am on a very low salt diet. My kidney was functioning at about 25 percent after surgery. My Dr. seems pleased that it's improving. After sticking to my diet I expected a lot more of an improvement. Am I unrealistic?

    1. Sorry for the delay in replying. In general with kidney issues it seems that anything which avoids disimprovement can be considered an improvement!

  10. Might the kidney study in mice from this LA Times article help you?