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Distal Renal Tubular Acidosis
October 2001

Q. I live in Mexico City and my child has been diagnosed with distal renal tubular acidosis; renal tubular acidosis type I. Her treatment is sodium bicarbonate (43 g) and potassium (53 g) with 500 ml of the water and syrup. I would like to know if Polycitra-K is the best treatment for her and how to get it if I live in Mexico City.

A. The kidney has many vital functions in the regulation of human health. It is responsible for filtering and removing the by-products of metabolism that would be harmful otherwise. One such function is to maintain proper acid-base balance in the body; the heart and other vital organs cannot function unless proper acid-base balance is maintained.

Renal tubular acidosis (RTA) occurs when the kidney loses this regulatory capacity. Type I simply refers to the area of the kidney that is malfunctioning. This can be a hereditary disorder, or one manifestation of other more generalized health problems such as autoimmune disorders (i.e. lupus), kidney damage from certain drugs, chronic kidney infection, and other conditions. Complications include growth retardation in children, kidney and bone problems, and loss of potassium which can be life-threatening.

Treatment as you mention, is to treat the acid accumulation with bicarbonate or citrate intake, and correct the potassium problem if needed. Treatment is usually under the supervision of a kidney specialist (nephrologist).




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