It is estimated that over thirty-five million people suffer from kidney disease in the United States alone. The numbers climb astronomically when the estimate includes the rest of the world. One of the early symptoms of kidney disease is changes in the skin. The skin is an organ, the largest of the human body. When the kidneys begin to fail, the tell-tales signs are seen in the change of texture, color, and overall condition of the skin. Many patients state that their skin itches terribly, especially before and after they have dialysis treatment. Modern medicines as well as ancient natural medicines are used to treat the skin changes that occur due to kidney disorders. Here we will discuss the causes, appearance of, and treatments for the skin changes that take place in many kidney disease patients.
One of the most distressing side effects of kidney disorders and disease are the very visible changes in the skin. The skin changes range from discoloration to severe itching and flaking, to fissures and ulcers. Patients of kidney disease often have pallor to their skin at the first stages of kidney disease. This pallor is due to anemia, or not enough iron in the blood stream. The patients that are undergoing dialysis treatment may also develop a grey discolouration as a result of medications used in transfusions.
Hematomas and ecchymoses are two conditions that are seen in kidney patients who have clotting problems. Skin hematomas are recognizable as brownish or purplish skin spots and ecchymoses appears as small broken blood vessels. Pruritus or itchiness is present in most patients due to high levels of parathyroid hormone or build up of uremic toxins. Uremic frost is a condition that is not often seen in the modern day because of the ability to treat skin disorders due to kidney disease, though in times past this frosty appearance on the skin was caused by high concentrations of urea coming to the surface of the skin.
Most patients with kidney disease will suffer a from a skin disorder; it is simply the nature of the illness. When the kidneys fail to flush the toxins from our system, the skin, the largest organ of the human body, is directly affected and shows it in color changes, texture and moisture variations.
The most common skin disorder of patients with kidney disease is Xerosis. The term means in plain language, dry skin. The type of Xerosis that these patients are afflicted with is more extreme than what is seen in healthy individuals. The condition the patients develop is very uncomfortable and is so itchy that many will scratch until they break the skin, which can lead to infections. Moisturisers, keratolytics (skin sloughers), antihistamines and hydration are the means most often used for this condition. Pruritus is the secondary stage of Xerosis. Bees wax balm, essential oils, and natural moisturisers are the best treatment for this condition however.
A little over half of the individuals with kidney disease will have pigment changes in their skin. Dark colored patches appear and are made worse by exposure to the sun. Skin fading creams are often used for cosmetic reasons, to lessen the appearance of the darkened skin. Lemon juice is a natural skin bleacher and its essential oils help with sloughing dried skin cells. Lemon juice and lemon oil paired with refined sugar makes an excellent sloughing agent – and it is nontoxic.
So as you can see there are natural remedies to apply to your skin if you are suffering from skin changes due to kidney damage. However treating your kidneys directly with natural therapies is the best approach, as you are then tackling the cause of the problem, and eliminating many of the side-effects caused by pharmaceutical drugs.