Kidney Disease: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
Kidney Disease is a condition in which the kidneys are not functioning properly. It can be acute, chronic or end-stage. The kidneys function by filtering blood, removing waste and maintaining electrolyte balance in the body. Kidney disease is often caused by diabetes, high blood pressure, or an infection that affects the urinary tract.
Kidney disease is a common problem in the United States with over 20 million people suffering from this condition.
What is a kidney?
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs that are responsible for filtering out waste and excess water to produce urine. When the kidneys are not functioning properly, they can’t remove enough water and waste from the body, which can lead to kidney failure. The kidneys also produce hormones that regulate blood pressure and red blood cell production.
The two most common types of kidney disease are:
- Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): CKD is a long-term condition that happens when the kidneys don’t filter waste from the body properly. This happens over time and usually gets worse over time.
- Acute Kidney Injury (AKI): AKI is an injury to one or both kidneys that causes them to stop working well. Sometimes AKI can happen as soon as 24 hours after an injury or illness occurs.
The symptoms of kidney disease can be difficult to detect. They are usually not severe and may not even be noticed until the disease is already advanced.
Symptoms of kidney disease can include:
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- High blood pressure
- Weakness and fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea, vomiting, or constipation
- Swelling in the legs or ankles
- Weight loss
- Shortness of breath
- Pain in the side or back
Causes and Risk Factors
Kidney disease is a condition in which the kidneys do not work properly. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
Diabetes can cause a range of complications including kidney disease and heart disease. The kidneys are responsible for removing excess fluids and waste from the body. Diabetes can cause damage to these organs which causes them to fail.
High blood pressure:
High blood pressure is also called hypertension. Hypertension is a condition in which the blood vessels are too tight, and they have too much resistance to the flow of blood. The kidneys may not work as well as they should because of high blood pressure, which can cause kidney damage and kidney failure.
Obesity can lead to kidney disease by increasing the workload on the kidneys, which are responsible for balancing water and salt levels in the body, removing wastes from the blood, and regulating blood pressure. Obesity can also cause high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels which are all risk factors for kidney disease.
The number of people with obesity-related kidney diseases is expected to increase as more people become obese due to their sedentary lifestyles or bad eating habits.
Smoking is the largest cause of kidney disease in the United States. Smoking causes 18% of all cases of chronic kidney disease and 25% of dialysis patients.
A study found that smokers are 1.5 to 2 times more likely to develop chronic renal failure than nonsmokers. The study also found that smokers who quit smoking for at least 10 years still have a higher risk for developing chronic renal failure than nonsmokers, even if they have normal creatinine levels.
Alcoholic beverages are a major cause of kidney disease. Alcohol is processed by the liver, which can lead to the production of toxic substances that damage the kidneys.
The liver is an organ that performs many important functions in the body. One of these functions is to process alcohol and break it down into a form that can be eliminated from the body. When alcohol enters the bloodstream, it passes through the liver before entering other tissues in the body. The liver breaks down most of it into water and carbon dioxide, but some alcohol remains unchanged or as a form called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde can cause serious damage to cells and tissues in any organ including those in your kidneys.
Lack of physical activity:
Lack of physical activity is the most common cause of kidney disease. In a few studies, it has been found that people with CKD who have low levels of physical activity have worse outcomes than those with higher levels.
A diagnosis of kidney disease is usually made by a doctor who will ask about your symptoms and perform a physical exam.
The diagnosis process for kidney disease is not very complicated. It can be done with a blood test, urinalysis, and imaging tests such as an ultrasound or CT scan. The person may also need to have their kidney function checked with a 24-hour urine collection or an intravenous pyelogram (IVP).
A lot of people suffer from kidney disease. It is a condition where the kidneys are not functioning properly and may not be able to filter out all the toxins in the body. The kidneys are responsible for removing waste products and excess fluid from the blood. When they fail, it can lead to other complications like high blood pressure, heart disease, anemia, or even cancer.
The treatment for kidney disease may vary depending on what caused it and how severe it is. However, there are some general treatments that may be recommended by your doctor such as diet changes, medication or surgery.
The diet for someone with kidney disease is important to maintain a healthy weight, control blood pressure and cholesterol, and prevent or manage other conditions.
People following a kidney disease diet might need to change the amount of fluids and/or the following nutrients in their diet:
- Low sodium
- Limit potassium intake
- Limit high intake of phosphorus
- Manage Protein Intake
- Drinking lots of fluids (water, tea, coffee)
- Limit Fluids in Advanced Kidney Disease
Also read: Diet for Chronic Kidney Disease
There are many medications for kidney disease that may be prescribed by your doctor. These medications fall into two categories:
- Those that help maintain healthy kidney function, and
- Those that treat existing kidney problems
The most common medication for kidney disease is called ACE inhibitors, which helps reduce high blood pressure and swelling of the kidneys caused by fluid retention. Other medications include antibiotics to treat infections, diuretics to reduce fluid retention, potassium supplements to control potassium levels in your blood, and uric acid supplements to control uric acid levels in your blood.
Dexamethasone is an anti-inflammatory drug that can be used for severe swelling of your joints, lungs and other tissues in the body. It may be given with antibiotics to reduce inflammation associated with infection and lung problems.
Other medications used for severe pain include narcotics (opioids) such as morphine and oxycodone. If these narcotics are not enough, you may need to take an anticonvulsant like gabapentin , carbamazepine, or phenytoin.
A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure that replaces a diseased or injured kidney with a healthy one from another human or animal. The transplanted kidney may come from either a living or deceased donor.
If you have chronic kidney disease or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), you may need hemodialysis or a kidney transplant.
A nephrectomy is the removal of a kidney, usually for the treatment of cancer. It can also be performed to treat conditions such as polycystic kidney disease and severe infections of the urinary tract.
Surgery for kidney disease is done to remove the diseased part of the kidney or to remove a tumor that has grown on the kidney. The surgery may also be done to repair or replace a damaged part of the urinary tract.
Dialysis for kidney disease is a treatment that uses a machine to filter the blood of wastes and excess fluids. This is done because the kidneys are no longer able to do this job.
Dialysis is usually needed when someone with chronic kidney disease has reached stage 5 (kidney failure). It can also be used if someone has had a sudden loss of kidney function, often due to an injury or infection. Dialysis can be done at home or while in hospital.
Dialysis for kidney disease can be done in different ways.
- One way is hemodialysis, which removes wastes and excess water from the blood by passing it through a machine called a dialyzer.
- Another way is peritoneal dialysis, in which wastes and excess water are removed by passing them through a tube inserted into the abdominal cavity.
Some people with kidney disease undergo both types of dialysis because they have an infection or other medical problem that prevents them from undergoing one type of dialysis alone.
Kidneys are an important part of the human body. They filter blood and remove wastes, including excess water and salt. This can lead to high levels of creatinine, which will be detected in a urine test.
Kidney disease is a group of diseases that affect the kidneys. These diseases can lead to kidney failure, which can cause other health problems such as high blood pressure, anemia, and electrolyte imbalance.
When they stop working properly, it can lead to serious health problems. If you have any symptoms that suggest that your kidneys are not working well, see a doctor as soon as possible.
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