Heat-associated diseases, such as heat stroke, may contribute to kidney damage and exacerbate current kidney function decline.  Heat associated conditions can lead to acute kidney injuries and potentially chronic kidney dysfunction.

Heat stroke is considered the most well-known heat-associated illness.  It can present with high fevers, confusion, coma, light headedness and headaches. It can also be associated with seizures, shock, multiorgan failure, and death.

Major heat waves and extended exertion in the heat (susceptible career roles include military recruits, athletes, agricultural workers, and miners, to name a few) are two risk factors for heat stroke.

Heat-associated conditions less severe than heat stroke, such as heat fatigue, heat exhaustion, heat syncope, and heat cramps are also associated with acute kidney injuries.

An acute kidney injury may have no symptoms.  In other cases, an individual can experience:

  • Less urination
  • Swelling in legs, ankles, feet
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling sick
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Breathing challenges
  • Confusion
  • Seizures or coma

Dehydration can promote kidney stone formation.
Interesting fact: the southern part of the USA is not only known as the Bible Belt, but also the Stone Belt.

Individuals with chronically low kidney function are more prone to heat-related illnesses due to reduced ability to thermoregulate.

Dehydration also stimulates the kidneys to reabsorb fluid and may increase renal toxicity.

Kidney damage and subsequent acute and chronic kidney dysfunction is expected to increase, as is the use of dialysis.  I encourage you to put a dent in these expectations by staying hydrated and obtaining labs at least once per year to check your kidney function.  Download my free e-book (see home page) to learn what to check for.

If you would like to read more about climate change and the kidneys, please view this article.

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If you are seeking to protect or improve your kidney function, schedule an appointment today!

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