Handling Child With Kidney Disease

handling child with kidney disease

Cholesterol In Children Cause For Concern

There are four major areas of concern for parents handling child with kidney disease. They are the child’s blood pressure, diet, anaemia, and growth. The child often feels sick, needs medicines, while care is taken about what he or she eats and drinks. As a parent, all these mean learning about treatment for the ailment and what can be done in the process of handling child with kidney disease.

Treatment begins with medicines, a healthy diet, and a healthy lifestyle.

Medicines Treatment

Oral Medicines

Several medicines are needed including vitamins, calcium, bicarbonate, and blood pressure pills. Therefore, monitoring the child takes medicines at appropriate hours is crucial. Alarm watches can be set to remind your child to take his or her medicine. Also, try to find the most acceptable forms of medicine. For example, this could be in the form of smaller capsules, pills or concentrated liquids to ease your child’s medication timetable.

handling child with kidney disease

Injectable medicines

Injectable medicines are available for the treatment of anaemia and growth failure in some children with chronic kidney disease. Erythropoietin can increase the red blood cell count and improve the energy and activity levels of a child with kidney failure. Studies show that many children with chronic kidney disease will grow normally with the help of human growth hormone injections.

handling child with kidney disease


Fluid accumulates as swelling in the skin, fluid congestion in the lungs, and high blood pressure. There are two options available during this time – dialysis and transplant. Dialysis may be required until a donor’s kidney is found. The two forms of dialysis are hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.


In hemodialysis, blood is cleansed outside the body through a machine. These treatments can take 4 hours at a time and need to be performed two to three times a week. Hemodialysis requires that a child’s diet be limited with regard to fluids, phosphorus, and salt intake.

Peritonial dialysis

In peritoneal dialysis, the body’s own peritoneal membrane – beneath the outer layers of the abdominal wall – is used to filter the blood. It requires fewer dietary and fluid restrictions and offers more lifestyle flexibility. There are two forms of peritoneal dialysis available. The first one uses a simple machine to perform the dialysis at night (CCPD) suitable for younger children. The second is done throughout the day (CAPD) more suitable for an older child.

handling child with kidney disease

Healthy Diet Treatment

Children with chronic kidney disease have to address diet changes. This can be challenging helping your child to take adequate calories and various nutrients. However, supplementing your child’s diet with extra carbohydrates and fats may help increase calorie intake.

Dairy products restriction

In children with more severe degrees of kidney failure, reducing the intake of dairy products and other protein-rich foods (such as meat, fish, or eggs) can make the filtering work of the kidneys easier. Some other times it can also postpone the need for dialysis. Though children do need enough protein for growth, avoiding excessive protein intake is advisable. 

Another advice is to limit phosphorus intake, as too much phosphorus may lead to calcium deposits in the eyes, heart, skin, and joints.  This can weaken the skeleton and increase the risk of broken bones.

handling child with kidney disease

Potassium restriction

Though many fruits and vegetables contain potassium, too much of it can be dangerous for children with kidney failure. Foods that are high in potassium include orange juice, bananas, tomato sauces, raisins, and melons.

Limit fluid intake

Monitoring the child’s intake of fluids is also important. If his or her ability to produce urine is declining, fluid intake needs to be limited. As such, keep away big size drinks from your child. Instead, offer your child slushy beverages or ice cubes to suck on.

Restrict intake of sodium

Some children with kidney disease, particularly those with high blood pressure, may need to restrict their intake of sodium. In particular, sodium found in table salt and foods.

Healthy Lifestyle Treatment

Encourage exercise

Exercise will help your child sweat to get rid of excess fluid and flush out toxins through the skin. Try to keep TV to a minimum and encourage physical activity instead. Walking and strength training make bones stronger. Exercise also stimulates muscles and nerves that can help ease ‘restless leg syndrome’ and other nervous system problems, sometimes linked with kidney disease.

handling child with kidney disease

Seek Support Groups Help

Aside from these physical concerns, give your child the chance to talk to you about his or her feelings. You may find contacts and support groups through your child’s nephrologist. You may also find a local chapter of the National Kidney Foundation helpful in handling a child with kidney disease. For instance, www.kidneyclinicsnigeria.org will readily provide you and your child the needed advice and support to ensure the symptoms of the disease can be managed and controlled and that he or she can live a full life.

Encourage School Activities Participation

If your child’s health is stable, encourage him or her to participate as fully as possible in school and activities. This will help your child develop self-esteem. A big step for children is being able to talk to others – such as teachers, coaches, and friends – about their illness. Teens especially do not want to stand out or seem different because they are sick. Then again, part of the process of learning and maturing is to be able to identify limitations and knowing when to ask for help.

Encourage Self-Care

As kids with chronic kidney diseases get older, they can take on more responsibility for their own care. School-age children should know the names of their medicines and how and when they are taken. As they are making the transition to adulthood, teens can share in the responsibility of making appointments. Teens with kidney disease should also have time alone to speak with the doctor and other members of the health care team.

handling  child with kidney disease

Be Prepared To Handle Medicine Side Effects

Handling child with kidney disease means you have to deal with difficulties the side effects of medicines your kid must take. For children taking prednisone for long periods of time, these effects can be significant, including weight gain (mainly around the face and trunk), moodiness, sleep disturbances, cataracts, and osteoporosis.

Be An Understanding parent

Besides the stress of having a chronic illness, your child is going through all of the experiences and problems of growing up just like other children. Treat him or her as a child first, which includes setting standards of behaviour. Sometimes, these standards can be relaxed or deferred during particularly difficult times. The advice is to pick them up again after your child’s health improves.

It is important to keep all in the loop and on the same page.  Do not hesitate to ask for help from your child’s doctor or mental health professional if you think it is required.


Photo Credit: Creative Commons

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