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Renal Parenchymal Disease: Is It Dangerous

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Renal Parenchymal Disease: Is It Dangerous

Renal Sciences | Posted on 04/20/2022 by RBH

What Is Renal Parenchymal Disease?

Renal Parenchymal Disease is a medical condition that affects the functional section of the kidneys which includes the renal cortex (the outermost part of the kidney) and the renal medulla. Our kidneys comprise of several components and structures containing nephrons which primarily filter blood and toxic waste from the kidneys. If the doctor suspects scarring changes in the substance of both kidneys, it is then termed bilateral renal parenchymal disease.

The bilateral renal parenchymal disease can be congenital (present during birth) or acquired (occurs in later stages of life). If left untreated, the renal parenchymal disease can lead to renal failure, electrolyte imbalance, low blood volume, dehydration, etc. Chronic renal parenchymal diseases approximately affect millions worldwide. Therefore, it is important to get timely treatment to avoid the risk of complications.

What Are The Different Grades Of Renal Parenchymal Disease?

Doctors classify the different grades of renal parenchymal disease based on the severity and the extent of the medical condition. The doctor leverages sonography which helps determine three grades of renal parenchymal disease.

  • Renal parenchymal disease grade 1 - When a normal-sized kidney, cortical echogenicity is the same as that of the spleen, with maintained cortico-medullary differentiation.
  • Renal parenchymal disease grade 2 - It is when normal-sized kidney, cortical echogenicity is more than that of the spleen and decreased cortico-medullary differentiation.
  • Renal parenchymal disease grade3 - It results in reduced renal length, cortical echogenicity is more than that of the spleen, with poorly maintained cortico-medullary differentiation.

Early Signs & Symptoms of Renal Parenchymal Disease:

Renal parenchymal disease symptoms vary in patients depending on their medical condition, the severity of the disease and the part of the kidney affected. Most individuals experience early signs that gradually worsen as the condition becomes severe. Here are a few symptoms of the renal parenchymal disease - 

  • Swollen hands, feet, and eyes
  • High blood pressure
  • Anaemia
  • Bone changes
  • Blood in urine
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue, lethargy, and weakness
  • Joint pain
  • Frequent night urination
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath

What Causes Renal Parenchymal Disease?

The renal parenchymal disease can be difficult to determine since there are several factors that can progress the condition. Additionally, certain risk factors also contribute to the improper functioning of the kidneys and eventually lead to chronic renal parenchymal disease. Common causes include - 

When To Consult The Doctor For Renal Parenchymal Disease Treatment?

Since family history is a major risk factor that can lead to the development of chronic renal parenchymal disease, it is advisable to go for regular health checkups for early detection of the disease, if any. Furthermore, if you are experiencing any symptoms associated with improper kidney functioning, it is important to diagnose the condition for effective treatment.

How Is Renal Parenchymal Disease Diagnosed?

Chronic renal parenchymal disease diagnosis involves a combination of symptom analysis and examining your medical history report. Since initial symptoms of renal parenchymal diseases are mostly silent, early diagnosis can ensure effective treatment and prevent the risk of complications. The doctor recommends the following tests depending on the grade of renal parenchymal disease -

  • Ultrasound
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Urinalysis
  • Blood tests
  • BUN creatinine 
  • Glomerular filtration rate (GFR)

Renal Parenchymal Disease Treatment: Know The Various Options

Treatment options for renal parenchymal disease depend on the age, medical health of the patient, and the extent of severity. The doctor generally recommends a combination of medical management, lifestyle changes, dietary restrictions, therapies, and in extreme cases, a dialysis or kidney transplantation. Renal parenchymal disease treatment aims to control or alleviate the symptoms and prevent the condition from getting worse. The doctor may recommend the following options as effective treatment methods for chronic renal parenchymal disease -

  • Lifestyle changes and dietary restrictions: Certain lifestyle habits like smoking, consuming alcohol, being overweight, etc. can impact kidney health and gradually increase the chances of bilateral renal parenchymal disease. Also, certain dietary restrictions and nutrition-based approaches can help manage the symptoms of chronic kidney diseases.
  • Medications: If the symptoms of the bilateral renal parenchymal disease are mild to moderate, certain medicines and drugs can help the patient manage the condition. The doctor usually prescribed medicines for blood pressure, high cholesterol, and fluid retention and help alleviate some discomfort due to chronic renal parenchymal disease.
  • Fluid Retention Management: Edema is an uncomfortable and common symptom of bilateral renal parenchymal disease. The doctor may suggest a combination of dietary changes, medications, etc. to reduce fluid tension. Subsequently, the doctor also keeps a check on your fluid intake throughout the day. 
  • Physical therapy: The doctor may recommend occupational and physical therapies to manage the debilitating effects on the body due to bilateral renal parenchymal disease. Engaging in routine aerobic and weight-resisting exercises can help in developing muscle strength which can improve the overall quality of life.
  • Kidney dialysis: Kidney dialysis is a procedure to remove excess fluid and waste products from the blood due to improper kidney functioning. In case of severe kidney deterioration due to bilateral renal parenchymal disease, dialysis becomes inevitable in sustaining their life.
  • Kidney transplantation: The doctor may recommend a kidney transplant if the patient is suffering from end-stage bilateral renal parenchymal disease. Undergoing a kidney transplant can be effective for the majority of patients and the best chance for a longer life.


What are the complications of bilateral renal parenchymal disease?

Untreated renal parenchymal disease can impact kidney functioning and lead to a wide range of complications which include the development of secondary hypertension. This can further deteriorate the overall health of the individual.

Is renal parenchymal disease dangerous?

Yes, chronic renal parenchymal disease can be dangerous if left untreated. Depending on the medical health of the patient, and the number of kidneys affected, the condition can become serious if it is diagnosed as higher grades of renal parenchymal disease.

Can renal parenchymal disease be cured?

Yes, chronic renal parenchymal disease can be cured if it is diagnosed during its early stages. renal parenchymal disease treatment involves medications, lifestyle changes, retention management, physical therapy, dialysis, and kidney transplant. However, the cure also depends on the degree of kidney disease and the medical health of the individual.

Can renal parenchymal disease be reversed?

It is not possible to completely reverse kidney damage, but certain treatment methods can improve kidney health. Get in touch with a nephrologist in case you are experiencing early signs of chronic renal parenchymal disease.

Is renal parenchymal disease and CKD the same?

Yes, renal parenchymal disease is another name for chronic kidney disease. Medical conditions that affect kidney functioning are called renal parenchymal disease.