Itchy skin can be annoying, and make one feel miserable. A new study also reveals that this can be quite a common issue for those suffering from chronic kidney disease, even patients that are not on dialysis, and it can create quite the toll when it comes to mental health.
Also known as chronic kidney failure, chronic kidney disease can be described as the ongoing decline of kidney function. An individual’s kidney filters excess fluids and waste from the blood that then expelled in the urine; however, with chronic kidney disease hits a progressed stage, there are dire levels of waste, fluid, and electrolytes that can build up in the body.
US News reported that the main symptoms of the illness include: vomiting, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, and itchy skin at times. Additionally, signs of chronic kidney disease are at times non-specific, as they may be due to another condition. As the kidneys are quite adaptable, and can compensate loss function, symptoms might not appear until there is irreversible damage.
Dr. Nidhi Sukul, author of the study, chimed into the recent research conducted stating that a priority around handling chronic illness is around the alleviation of symptoms; however, he noted that this is only possible when one is aware of the suffering that patients are dealing with.
The research gathered over 3,700 patients dealing with severe to moderate chronic kidney illness that were not on dialysis. This grouping included individuals from France, Brazil, as well as the United States.
Close to a quarter of all these patients overall had pruritus; bothersome itchy skin. It was most common in older female patients that had more advanced kidney disease, and who also suffered with diabetes, depression, and lung disease.
Those that had itchy skin stated they had worse physical and mental quality of life. They were likelier to deal with depression and sleep issues. The worse their itching, the worse the above issues felt.
Lead author of the study chimed in on the results, stating that they offered a unique and international look at the importance around asking chronic kidney disease patients how affected they are by their itchy skin symptoms.
She added that some medicines have proven to help with symptoms around pruritus, for a substantial number of patients; however, she did note that there is not a universally-effective treatment option for this symptom. She added that the patient-doctor relationship needs to be enhanced so that individuals can feel open to discuss the ailment itchy skin can cause, so that differing approaches to relieve this sign of kidney disease can be addressed for relief.