If you were to take a quick poll from your peers of what they fear the most, you’re most likely to receive answers like snakes, flying, thunderstorms (non-Highveld-people…), needles, the dark and, if they’re really honest, the dentist! For the most part these fears originate around our mortality and anything that threatens our health. Which means that a dentist shouldn’t really be too high on the list…
When signing any policy for personal risk cover your health and medical conditions play a fundamental role in the processing and approval of your cover. For most clients, the first thing that they think about is the condition of their heart, which for most is not really a concern. But the important two organs that are frequently overlooked, and of high interest to insurance houses, are our kidneys.
These two 130g (approximate weight) organs are essential in the urinary system and serve in the regulation of electrolytes, maintenance of acid–base balance, and regulation of blood pressure (by maintaining salt and water balance). They serve the body as a natural filter of the blood, and remove wastes which are diverted to the urinary bladder. In producing urine, the kidneys excrete wastes such as urea and ammonium, and they are also responsible for the reabsorption of water, glucose, and amino acids. The kidneys also produce hormones including calcitriol, erythropoietin, and the enzyme renin. So they’re pretty important!
This is because the risk exists that the body will reject the organ. In this situation the person will need to take medication to prevent them from rejecting the organ. The medication results in its own set of additional risks.
There are two types of kidney failures. When the kidneys fail suddenly, it is known as acute kidney failure or acute renal failure (ARF). This usually happens when the kidneys malfunction, due to dehydration, medication, drug abuse or loss of blood during or after an operation.
The good news is that Acute Renal Failure is treatable. The doctor will do an ultrasound and renal function test to diagnose the disease.
Symptoms that could indicate ARF include little or no urine when urinating; feeling confused, anxious and restless or sleepy; and pain in the back just below the rib cage. These symptoms are the same as if someone had kidney stones. This is not surprising because if the urinary system is blocked, it can lead to acute kidney failure too.
Chronic kidney failure develops over months and years, resulting in the degeneration of the kidneys. This is usually caused by a chronic disease that is poorly controlled, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. The illness damages the kidneys slowly over time and reduces their ability to function. Eventually the kidneys stop function and dialysis or a kidney transplant is needed.