Kidney Disease: Everything You Need To Know

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The kidneys control several bodily functions, including pH, salt, and potassium. Kidney function can be impacted by a number of illnesses, lifestyle choices, and genetics.

Kidney disease: what is it?

Located at the base of the rib cage are two organs the size of fists that are called the kidneys. Each side of the spine has one kidney.

A healthy body depends on having functioning kidneys. Their primary function is to filter waste materials, surplus water, and other contaminants from the blood. When you urinate, the poisons that have been accumulated in your bladder are released.

The body’s pH, salt, and potassium levels are also controlled by the kidneys. They generate the hormones that govern the synthesis of red blood cells and blood pressure. Even a kind of vitamin D that aids in the body’s absorption of calcium is activated by the kidneys.

Your kidneys develop renal disease when they are damaged and unable to work properly. Diabetes, hypertension, and a number of other long-term (chronic) illnesses can cause damage.

Other health issues, such as hunger, weak bones, and nerve damage, might result from kidney illness.

Your kidneys can stop functioning altogether if the condition worsens over time. This implies that dialysis will be necessary in order to carry out the kidneys’ function. Dialysis is a medical procedure in which a machine filters and cleanses blood. Although it can’t reverse renal disease, it can extend your life.

What kinds of kidney diseases exist, and why do they occur?

Chronic kidney problems

Chronic renal disease is the most prevalent type of kidney disease. It is a persistent illness that never gets better. It is typically brought on by elevated blood pressure.

Because it might put more pressure on the glomeruli, high blood pressure poses a risk to the kidneys. The microscopic blood arteries in the kidneys called glomeruli are responsible for cleaning blood. Kidney function starts to deteriorate as a result of the increasing pressure over time, damaging these veins.

Eventually, kidney function will decline to the point that the kidneys are unable to carry out their necessary functions. A person would have to start dialysis in this situation. Extra fluid and waste are removed from the blood by dialysis. Kidney illness cannot be cured, although dialysis can help treat it.

Depending on your situation, a kidney transplant can be an additional course of treatment.

Chronic kidney disease has diabetes as a primary contributing factor. High blood sugar is a symptom of a group of disorders called diabetes. Over time, the blood vessels in the kidneys sustain damage due to the elevated blood sugar levels. Thus, the blood cannot be adequately cleaned by the kidneys. An overabundance of toxins in the body can lead to renal failure.

Kidney stones

Another frequent kidney issue is kidney stones. They happen when solid masses (stones) made of minerals and other chemicals in the blood crystallise in the kidneys. Kidney stones often pass through the body after urinating. They can be quite unpleasant to pass, although they seldom result in serious issues.

Kidney polycystic disease

A hereditary condition known as polycystic kidney disease leads to many cysts—small fluid-filled sacs—growing inside the kidneys. renal failure may result from these cysts’ interference with renal function.

It’s crucial to remember that isolated kidney cysts are usually benign and somewhat frequent. A different, more dangerous ailment is polycystic kidney disease.

Infections of the urinary tract

Bacterial infections of any region of the urinary system are known as urinary tract infections, or UTIs. The most frequent infections are those of the urethra and bladder. They seldom cause further health issues and are readily treated. Kidney failure can result from these infections, though, if they are not treated.

What signs and symptoms of kidney disease?

It is easy for kidney illness to go undiagnosed until the symptoms worsen. Early warning indicators that kidney disease may be developing in you include the following symptoms:

  • fatigue
  • having trouble focusing
  • difficulty falling asleep
  • poor appetite
  • cramping in the muscles
  • ankles and feet swelling
  • puffiness in the morning around the eyes
  • scaly, dry skin
  • frequent urinating, particularly in the evening

The following severe symptoms might indicate that your kidney disease is becoming worse and leading to renal failure:

  • sick feeling
  • vomiting
  • appetite decline
  • variations in urine production
  • fluid accumulation
  • a reduction in red blood cells, or anaemia
  • reduced desire for sex
  • rapid increase in potassium concentrations (hyperkalemia)
  • inflammation of the sac that surrounds the heart.

Which variables put one at risk of kidney disease?

Kidney disease is more common in those who have diabetes. About 44% of new occurrences of kidney disease are caused by diabetes, making it the primary cause of the condition. Kidney disease may also be more likely to strike you if you:

  • have a high blood pressure
  • possess further family members suffering from severe kidney problems
  • are older

How can kidney disease be identified?

Initially, your doctor will assess if renal disease is more likely to strike you. After that, a few tests will be performed to determine whether your kidneys are healthy. Among these exams might be:

 Globular filtration rate (GFR)

This test will identify the stage of kidney disease and assess how well your kidneys are functioning.

Computed Tomography (CT) scan or ultrasound

Your kidneys and urinary system may be clearly seen on CT and ultrasound studies. Your doctor can determine whether your kidneys are too big or little by looking at the images. They can also reveal any tumours or any structural issues.

Kidney biopsy

While you are unconscious, your doctor will extract a little sample of tissue from your kidney during a kidney biopsy. Your doctor can identify the kind of kidney disease you have and the extent of the damage with the use of the tissue sample.

Test of urine

To check for albumin, your doctor can ask for a sample of your urine. Damage to your kidneys might cause the protein albumin to be excreted in your urine.

Test for blood creatinine

It is a waste product, creatinine. When the muscle-stored molecule creatine is broken down, it is released into the blood. If your kidneys aren’t functioning correctly, your blood will include more creatinine.


How do you cure kidney disease?

Managing the underlying cause of the illness is typically the main goal of treatment for kidney disease. This implies that your physician will assist you in controlling your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. To treat renal illness, they could employ one or more of the following techniques.

Medications and drugs

Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), such as irbesartan and olmesartan, or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, such ramipril and lisinopril, will be prescribed by your doctor. These blood pressure drugs have the ability to halt the renal disease’s development.

Even if you don’t have high blood pressure, your doctor may nevertheless prescribe these drugs to maintain renal function.

Drugs that lower cholesterol may also be used to treat you (such as simvastatin). These drugs can lower blood cholesterol levels and support renal function. Your doctor may also recommend medications to treat anaemia (a reduction in the quantity of red blood cells) and reduce swelling based on your symptoms.

Diet and lifestyle changes

Altering your diet is equally as vital as taking prescription drugs. Many of the underlying causes of kidney disease can be avoided by leading a healthier lifestyle. Your physician could advise you to:

  • control diabetes with doses of insulin
  • reduce your intake of fatty meals
  • cut back on salt consumption
  • consume a diet rich in whole grains, fresh produce, low-fat dairy, and other heart-healthy foods.
  • Limit your intake of alcohol.
  • If you smoke, stop smoking.

Kidney disease and dialysis

Dialysis is a synthetic blood filtration technique. It is applied in cases where renal failure has occurred or is imminent. Many patients with end-stage renal disease need to have dialysis either indefinitely or until a kidney donor is identified.

Hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis are the two forms of dialysis.

Hemodialysis Dialysis

It involves pumping blood through a specialised machine that removes waste materials and fluid. Hemodialysis can be performed in a hospital, dialysis facility, or at home. The majority of participants attend three sessions each week, lasting three to five hours each. Hemodialysis can, however, also be performed more often and in shorter periods.

Low blood pressure, cramps, and itching are the most frequent hemodialysis side effects.

Peritoneal Dialysis 

The peritoneum, or the membrane lining the abdominal wall, serves as a stand-in kidney during peritoneal dialysis. Dialysate is injected into the abdomen through an implanted catheter. Blood waste products enter the dialysate from the peritoneum. After that, the dialysate is removed from the abdomen.

Peritoneal dialysis side effects most frequently involve infections in the abdominal cavity or the site of the tube’s implantation. Hernias and weight gain might be additional negative effects. When the intestine pulls through a rip or weak area in the lower abdominal wall, it causes a hernia.

What is the outcome for a kidney disease patient in the long run?

Once identified, kidney disease typically does not get better. Maintaining kidney health is best achieved by following your doctor’s recommendations and leading a healthy lifestyle. Over time, kidney disease might worsen. It could potentially result in renal failure. If left untreated, kidney failure can be fatal.

When your kidneys are not functioning at all or are functioning very little, you have renal failure. Dialysis is an artificial kidney function management procedure. A machine is used during dialysis to remove waste from your blood. Your doctor could suggest a kidney transplant in specific circumstances.

In what ways might kidney problems be avoided?

Certain risk factors for kidney disease, such age or family history, are uncontrollable. Furthermore, evidence indicates that ethnicity—which you cannot control—may be a risk factor for renal disease.

You may, however, take the following steps to help avoid kidney disease:

  • hydrate well with water.
  • If you have diabetes, control your blood sugar levels.
  • control the blood pressure.
  • cut back on salt consumption
  • If you smoke, stop smoking.

Get tested

Consult your physician about having a blood test to check for renal issues. Typically, kidney issues don’t show symptoms until they are more severe. One common blood test that may be performed as part of a conventional physical examination is the basic metabolic panel (BMP).

It measures urea or creatinine in your blood. These are substances that, in malfunctioning kidneys, seep into the bloodstream. Kidney issues are simpler to treat when discovered early, which is what a BMP may reveal.

Every year, you should be checked whether you have:

  • diabetes
  • heart conditions
  • high blood pressure

Limit certain food items

Kidney stones can be caused by a variety of substances found in diet. These consist of:

  • too much sodium
  • animal-based protein, such chicken and beef
  • Citrus fruits, including oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, contain citric acid.
  • oxalate, a substance present in chocolate, sweet potatoes, spinach, and beets

Inquire about calcium

Consult your physician prior to using any calcium supplements. Kidney stones have been associated with some calcium supplements.

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