What is Nephrocalcinosis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
What Is Nephrocalcinosis?
Nephrocalcinosis is a pathological condition characterized by accumulation of excessive calcium in the kidneys. This condition is normally seen in premature children.
Nephrocalcinosis usually does not cause any symptoms, although the affected individual may experience symptoms of the condition that is causing Nephrocalcinosis. Citing an example if renal stones is the cause for accumulation of excess calcium in the kidneys then the individual may experience blood in the urine, fever, chills, nausea with or without vomiting, and intense abdominal pain or pain in the flank area.
The primary cause of Nephrocalcinosis is believed to be use of certain medications or supplements, infection, and any medical condition that causes the calcium levels to rise significantly in the body such as hyperparathyroidism or renal tubular acidosis. There have also been cases where Nephrocalcinosis has been found to run in families suggesting a genetic link to this condition.
The treatment of Nephrocalcinosis depends on the specific cause and is different for different individuals. Preventing further deposition of calcium in the kidneys is the primary aim of treatment of Nephrocalcinosis.
What Causes Nephrocalcinosis?
Nephrocalcinosis tends to be caused due to various factors including medications, infections, or other underlying medical conditions.
Some of the medical conditions that tend to cause Nephrocalcinosis are:
- Primary hyperparathyroidism
- Renal tubular acidosis
- Premature birth
What Are The Symptoms Of Nephrocalcinosis?
In majority of the cases there are no symptoms specific for Nephrocalcinosis and the symptoms that an individual experiences is basically of the conditions that are causing Nephrocalcinosis.
Some of the symptoms related to Nephrocalcinosis are:
- Blood in the urine
- Fever and chills
- Nausea with or without vomiting
- Intense pain in the abdominal and flank regions
How Is Nephrocalcinosis Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of Nephrocalcinosis is usually made when an individual presents with symptoms suggestive of renal dysfunction or renal failure. The physician may order an ultrasound of the kidney along with a CT scan which will clearly show deposition of the calcium within the kidney confirming the diagnosis of Nephrocalcinosis.
Other tests that may be done to further confirm the diagnosis of Nephrocalcinosis are blood draws to check for calcium levels which will be high in cases of Nephrocalcinosis, and urinalysis to check for presence of red bloods cells and crystals. This will further affirm the diagnosis of Nephrocalcinosis.
How Is Nephrocalcinosis Treated?
The main aim of treating Nephrocalcinosis is to prevent worsening of the condition, identifying the cause of the condition, and treating the underlying cause. Hydration with isotonic sodium chloride is the mainstay of treatment for Nephrocalcinosis to reduce the levels of calcium in the body and protect the kidneys.
Diuretics and salt restriction along with potassium and magnesium supplementation can also be administered in cases of Nephrocalcinosis. In some cases Nephrocalcinosis tends to become less with time but in many cases such as when Nephrocalcinosis results from conditions like primary hyperoxaluria or renal tubular acidosis, the condition is basically irreversible. Thus it is highly recommended that treatment should start at the earliest when a diagnosis is confirmed of Nephrocalcinosis.