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Can one lead a normal life with a single kidney?

Q: My brother (26 years) has only one kidney by birth and that too is Hydronephrotic (he had undergone a kidney operation, of mildly enlarged kidney). His other kidney is shrunken and the ratio is 80:20. He sometimes feels headache and acidity / indigestion. Will you please suggest me what precautions should he take to keep up his (working) kidney, so that he could live a longer life? What is the life of a single kidney?

A:Single kidney is not life threatening if it is not diseased. As you say that the only kidney was operated for hydronephrosis, it is very important to follow its functions for few years by ultrasound, DTPA scan every 6-12 months. Keep checking his BP regularly because small kidney or diseased kidney can cause hypertension which can damage the kidney in turn. If there is a family history of diabetes, keep checking your sugar regularly. Avoid use of pain killers unless really necessary. Tell your doctor about this whenever you are prescribed any medicines as some medicines are not good for kidneys. One can live a normal life span with single kidney.

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