Kidneys are an essential part of our body. There is a pair of fist sized organs located at the bottom of the rib cage. There is one kidney on each side of the spine.
Kidneys are basically responsible for filtering waste products, excess water and impurities out of the blood. They stored toxins in the bladder and then removed them through urination. They also regulate PH, salt and potassium level in the body. Kidney produces hormones which control blood pressure and control the production of red blood cells. They also activate a form of Vitamin D which helps the body to absorb calcium.
Kidney disease occurs when kidneys get damaged and can’t perform their function. This disease may leave kidneys unable to remove wastes. It can be damaged by diabetes, high blood pressure and various other chronic conditions. Kidney disease can cause other health problems such as weak bones, nerve damage and malnutrition.
If your kidneys get damaged then waste products and fluid can make up in your body. It can cause swelling in your ankles, nausea, weakness, poor sleep and shortness of breath.
If the kidney disease gets worse with the period of time then it may stop working completely. It means that dialysis is required to perform the function of the kidneys. Dialysis is a treatment for kidney disease which filters and purifies the blood using a machine. Dialysis can’t cure the disease but it can prolong your life.
What are the types of kidney disease?
Chronic disease is one of the most common kidney diseases. It is a long-term kidney condition which doesn’t improve within the period of time. It is mainly caused by high blood pressure. High BP is risky for kidney disease because it can enhance the pressure on the glomeruli. Glomeruli are the very small blood vessels in the kidneys where blood is cleaned. With the passage of time, the increased blood pressure damages these vessels and kidney function starts to decline. Diabetes also leads to chronic kidney disease. Diabetes is a bunch of diseases which can cause high blood pressure. The increased level of sugar in the blood deteriorates the blood vessels in the kidneys over time. It means the kidneys can’t do the function properly. It may result in kidney failure when your body becomes overloaded with toxins. Other causes are chronic glomerulonephritis, chronic pyelonephritis, kidney stones, polycystic diseases, reflux nephropathy and others.
Kidney stone is another type of kidney problem. It occurs when minerals and other substances in the blood crystallize in the kidneys, forming solid stones. Kidney stones evenly come out of the body during urination. Passing kidney stones can be very painful but they rarely lead to significant problems.
Glomerulonephritis is the inflammation of the glomeruli. Glomeruli are very small structures inside the kidneys which filter the blood. It can be caused by infections, drugs and congenital abnormalities. It generally gets better on its own.
Polycystic kidney disease
This disease is a genetic disorder which causes the number of cysts to grow in the kidneys. These cysts can interfere with kidney function and result in kidney failure.
Urinary tract infections
UTI are bacterial infections of any part of the urinary systems. Infections in the bladder and urethra are the most common. They are easily treatable and infrequently result in more health problems. Though, these infections can spread to the kidneys and result in kidney failure.
What are the main symptoms of kidney disease?
Kidney disease is a condition which can easily go unnoticed till the symptoms become worse. The below symptoms are early warning signs which might be developing kidney diseases:-
- Trouble in sleeping
- Poor appetite
- Dry and scratchy skin
- Frequent urination
- Difficulty in concentration
Symptoms which show that your kidney disease is developing into kidney failure:-
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in urine output
- Sudden rise in potassium levels
- High blood pressure
- Swelling over body
How is kidney disease diagnosed?
- Glomerular filtration rate (GFR): the test will analyze how well your kidneys are performing and determine the stage of kidney disease.
- Ultrasound scan: it creates clear images of your kidneys and urinary tract. The image allows your doctor to see if your kidneys are very small or large. They can also show any tumors that may be present.
- Kidney biopsy: during a kidney biopsy, your doctor will eliminate a small piece of tissue from your kidney while you are composed. The tissue sample can help your doctor analyze the type of kidney disease you have and how much damage has occurred.
- Urine test: your doctor may suggest you urine test for albumin. Albumin is a protein which can be passed into your urine when your kidneys are damaged.
- Blood creatinine test: creatinine is a waste product. It is recused into the blood when creatinine is broken down. The levels of creatine in your body will enhance if your kidneys are not working properly.
How is kidney disease treated?
Treatment of kidney disease mainly emphasizes controlling the underlying cause of the disease. It means that your doctor can help you better manage your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels. They may use one of the following methods:-
- Drugs and medication
- Dietary and lifestyle changes
How can kidney diseases be prevented?
Some risk factors of kidney disease such as age, race and family history are not possible to control. Although, there are some measures you can take to help prevent kidney diseases:-
- Drink lot of water
- Decrease intake of salt
- Control sugar if you are diabetes patient
- Control blood pressure
- Stop smoking, no tobacco intake