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Any condition that restricts the proper functioning of the kidneys is called a renal disease or a kidney disease. The damage to the kidneys depends on the kind of condition that one suffers from. Each kidney consists of millions of tiny filters called nephrons. Dysfunctioning of kidneys can lead to accumulation of toxins in the body. The surprising part is that one does not notice any significant symptoms or problems until the kidneys are fully damaged. Now you don’t want this to happen, do you? An easy way to prevent kidney disease is by living a healthy lifestyle. The first thing that comes to mind is the need to drink plenty of water. Water helps flush toxins and allows the kidneys to function at their best.
Here are a few other aspects of your lifestyle that should be taken care of in order to prevent any kind of damage to the kidneys.
- Cut down your intake of red meat: Most diets advise lean meats in place of red meat. This not only helps reduce your calorific intake, but it can also be a healthier choice for your kidneys. This is because red meat has a very high protein content and isn’t easy to digest. Thus, it puts additional pressure on the kidneys. If an individual’s kidney functioning is already compromised, it is best to avoid red meat completely.
- Follow your circadian rhythm: An old adage goes ‘there’s a time for everything’. This is very important for a healthy lifestyle. Your circadian rhythm refers to the regular wake - sleep cycle. Ideally, you should get up and go to bed at the same time every day. This allows your body to regulate its activities and does not put too much pressure on your internal organs. Along with waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day, it is also important to maintain regular meal timings.
- Deal with stress better: Today, hypertension is a very common diagnosis. Not only it is fatal as an individual problem, but can lead to a number of health issues including kidney disease. As you continue to be stressed along with high blood pressure, the kidneys begin to suffer. They are unable to filter waste properly and toxins begin to accumulate in the organs. Meditation is a great way to deal with stress and lower blood pressure. Try taking 15 minutes out of your morning schedule to sit quietly and simply focus on your breathing. This will energize you for the day ahead and help your kidneys stay healthy.
- Cut down on sugar: Sugar may make food taste sweeter, but it does no good to your body. It is high in calories and has absolutely no nutritional value. Hence, these calories are empty calories that lead to weight gain. As a result of weight gain, your risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity increases. Both these conditions can cause a hormonal imbalance and impact the functioning of the kidneys. If you must sweeten your tea, try honey instead of sugar.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Today, pollution (be it the air, water, or noise pollution) has become the biggest threat to mankind. The quality of air has deteriorated like never before. Everywhere, people are suffering from the deteriorating effects of pollution, the worse being the air pollution. Inhaling toxic gases continuously has worsened the situation to such an extent that health disorders such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer, heart ailments, to name a few are on a mercurial rise.
Various surveys and scientific studies suggest that the deteriorating air quality acts as a catalyst leading to an upsurge in kidney problems and disorders. The kidney is a vital organ of the body that plays a pivotal role in the blood purification process and filtering waste out of the system. When the harmful air pollutants (microscopic particulate matter such as dirt, smoke, soot, to name a few) gets into our body and the bloodstream, they wreak havoc interfering with the ability of the kidneys to perform their function efficiently.
As per a new finding, for a rise of 10 micrograms of fine particulates per cubic meter of air, the incidence of kidney failure shoots up by about 26% and that of chronic kidney ailments by about 27%. If necessary control measures are not implemented at the earliest, it is not long before kidney diseases will become a catastrophe.
The use of anti-pollution masks is, thus, highly recommended for both the children and adults. Further, as a responsible citizen, get your automobile engines checked and modified to ensure minimum emission of the toxic gases. In case of any uneasiness or discomfort, seek immediate medical assistance.
Another trigger that acts as a poison resulting in kidney diseases is smoking. The harmful effects of tobacco are known to all. Doctors suggest that smoking can, directly and indirectly, affect the renal functions. In some instances, smoking triggers the health condition that proves to be the underlying factors for chronic kidney diseases (CKD).
- High blood pressure is one of leading contributing factors for CKD. Prolonged, uncontrolled and untreated high blood pressure not only alters the kidney function but triggers extensive damages to the renal blood vessels (causes constriction of the vessels) and arteries leading to kidney failure.
- Smoking often leads to high blood pressure which eventually results in chronic kidney diseases.
- Prolonged smoking increases the plasma renin activity. There is also an increased production of Angiotensin II. Angiotensin II, produced by the kidney is a part of the Renin-Angiotensin system and results in a rise in the blood pressure (through vasoconstriction).
- In some cases, chronic and uncontrolled smoking can lead to arteriosclerosis of the renal arteries with severe damage to the arterioles. Incidences of kidney failures are high in diabetic patients who smoke regularly.
One does not need rocket science to understand that the solution to this problem lies in giving up on smoking and preventing exposure to pollution to keep their kidneys functioning properly and bodies healthy.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs located on either side of a person’s spine, under the ribs and behind the stomach. The main function of kidneys is to filter the blood through renal arteries directly from the aorta and transfer blood back to the heart via the renal veins.
Interruptions in the functioning of kidneys may arise, when kidney failure takes places, which might occur from chronic problems which gradually lead the kidneys to stop functioning. Dialysis is a treatment procedure for kidney failure, through which excess water, soluble and toxins are removed from the blood. It is an artificial process followed, which would have been originally done by the kidneys. Before going into the details of dialysis, let’s take a look at some of the causes and symptoms of kidney failure.
Symptoms of Kidney Failure
Several symptoms can arise during kidney failure. Possible symptoms are as follows:
- Amount of urine is reduced
- Swelling on the ankles, legs and feet of a person, due to fluid retention occurring as a result of kidneys’ inability to remove waste.
- Suffering from nausea on a persistent basis is a common symptom.
Causes Behind Kidney Failure
There are a number of causes behind the occurrence of kidney failure. They include:
Treatment - Dialysis Requirement
Dialysis treatment is one of the primary procedures through which failed kidneys are treated. Dialysis, through the use of a machine, filters and purifies the blood, by taking the toxic substances and excess water out of it. There are two types of dialysis, hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. We take a look at both the types through the descriptions below:
- Hemodialysis: In this type of dialysis, blood gets passed on to the machine, from the patient’s body, through a sterile tube and into a filter, known as a dialysis membrane. This procedure requires a patient to have a specialized vascular tube, which is placed between an artery and a vein in the arm or leg. This is known as Cimino fistula. Then, needles get placed in the fistula and blood passes through the filter, on to the dialysis machine and back to the patient. In case, a patient needs dialysis before a fistula is placed, a large diameter catheter is placed into a large vein in the neck or on the leg to get dialysis done.
- Peritoneal Dialysis: This type of dialysis uses the patients’ own body tissues inside the belly to act as the filter. The abdominal cavity is lined up with a special membrane known as the peritoneal membrane. Then a paeritoneal dialysis catheter gets placed through the abdominal wall into the abdominal cavity. After that, a special fluid called dialysate is then flushed into the abdominal cavity and help wash around the intestines. The membrane does the work of a filter between the fluid and blood stream. Through the use of different kinds of solutions, excess fluid and waste materials can get removed from the system through this process.
Anemia refers to a condition wherein the body possesses fewer red blood cells than what it contains under normal circumstances. Oxygen gets carried by the red blood cells to tissues and organs all over the body, thereby enabling them to use the necessary energy from food. A person suffering from anemia, will have his red blood cells carrying less amount of oxygen to organs like heart and brain, thus interrupt smooth functioning of the organs. Kidney disease leads to the problem of anemia. In fact, it is a very common side effect of kidney disease, wherein the body fails to produce the required amount of red blood cells.
What results in anemia?
A person can suffer from the problem of Anemia, when sufficient amount of red blood cells are not there in the body. Oxygen is carried through a person’s bloodstream by the Red blood cells, providing him energy and also ensure that the bones, muscles and organs function properly. Anemia can make a person feel weak and very tired as he or she is unable to receive the required amount of energy.
How can chronic kidney disease lead to anemia?
Anemia is common among people, who suffer from chronic kidney disease, though the problem can occur to anyone. People suffering from chronic kidney disease may have anemia during the early stages of their kidney disease and as the kidney problem gets worse, so does anemia. Improper functioning of kidneys generally link towards the problem of anemia. People, who suffer from complete loss of kidney function, tend to develop the problem of anemia. Kidney failure leads to a person, requiring dialysis or kidney transplant, for ensuring longevity.
Anemia becomes even more common in chronic kidney disease, if a person:
Some of the other causes of anemia in people, suffering from kidney disease include loss of blood from hemodialysis and lower levels of some of the nutrients like iron, folic acid and vitamin B12, found in food.
These three nutrients are essential for the red blood cells to make haemoglobin, which is the main carrier of protein through oxygen in red blood cells.
Signs and symptoms of anemia with chronic kidney disease
The signs and symptoms of anemia in someone, suffering from chronic kidney disease are:
- He might have terrible weakness.
- A person might suffer from headaches on a frequent basis.
- There would be problems with regard to concentration.
- The color of the skin would become pale.
A doctor would try and increase the levels of iron in a person’s body, as the first step of treatment. Iron pills would help in improving the levels of iron and haemoglobin. Red Blood Cell transfusion is another way to treat this problem. Transfusion would be done inside the patient’s vein by raising the level of the patient’s blood consisting of red blood cells, thereby also increasing the amount of oxygen. Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid supplements are also suggested by healthcare providers, to help treat anemia.
This is a disease where the kidneys stop filtering waste from the blood and it can happen without any warning. Acute kidney disease is common and can be treated by doctors. This condition starts off slow and may worsen over a few days. Treating it is essential as it may even be fatal, if left untreated. It is most common in those above the age of 40. There may be many underlying reasons for this condition, such as severe dehydration, urinary tract obstruction, autoimmune diseases and toxic kidney injury from drugs or poisons are the main reasons behind it.
Treatment for acute kidney failure
The treatment for this condition is determined by the cause of the condition. The main aim of the treatment is to keep the waste from the body from building up and restore the kidney function to normal.
Diet: This is crucial for recovering from this condition. There must be a high intake of liquid as it will aid in the elimination of the toxins from the body. The diet should be low in salt, protein, carbohydrates, and potassium. There needs to be sufficient nutrition for all the organs to function properly and for the kidney to recover.
Medications: There are antibiotics that can help treat or prevent this condition. Diuretics can help eliminate the excess fluid in the kidney. Insulin and calcium together prevent the potassium levels in the blood from rising.
Dialysis: For this condition, dialysis is used temporarily till the kidneys recover. This is a technique where the blood is filtered out of the body and went back in. This is a life-saving technique that is needed when the potassium levels rise. This procedure comes in handy when the urination completely stops. This is the best way to keep the patient unaffected till the kidneys start functioning once again.
How can it be prevented?
- This condition can be avoided completely by ensuring you have healthy food and physical activity. Having 4-6 liters of water a day can keep you on the safer side.
- You need to pay attention to the medicines you are taking. In several cases, a heavy dose of over-the-counter medications can lead to this condition.
- If your urination seems abnormal or if you experience any pain while urinating, seek medical help immediately. By doing this, you can prevent the condition from aggravating in its early stages.
If left untreated for long period, this condition can be life-threatening. Seeking proper medical attention from a specialist can help deal with the situation in the best possible manner.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
If you are experiencing pink or cola-colored urine or your urine is foamy, you could be suffering from glomerular disease. Also known as glomerulonephritis, this condition involves inflammation of the tiny kidney filters or glomeruli. It may be acute, sudden or chronic. When glomerulonephritis occurs by itself, it is called primary glomerulonephritis, and in case it occurs from other diseases, it is called secondary glomerulonephritis. Prolonged and intense inflammation associated with glomerular disease may damage the kidneys.
The symptoms of glomerular disease are based on the form of glomerulonephritis. The common symptoms are as follows:
- Pink urine due to the presence of red blood cells in the urine
- Foamy urine because of excessive protein
- High blood pressure
- Retention of fluid with swelling in the hands, face, feet and abdomen
- Fatigue due to kidney failure or anemia
There are several conditions, which may lead to glomerular disease. They are as follows:
- Glomerulonephritis may develop a few weeks after you recover from a throat infection or impetigo. The body produces excessive antibodies, which may settle in the glomeruli and cause inflammation.
- Certain bacteria may spread through the bloodstream, enter the heart and cause infection of the valves of the heart. This is known as bacterial endocarditis.
- Certain viral infections like the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV, hepatitis B and C may lead to glomerulonephritis.
The tests and procedures used for the diagnosis of glomerular disease are as follows:
- Urine tests are carried out to detect red blood cells in the urine which may indicate glomerulonephritis. Urinalysis also shows the presence of white blood cells, which may lead to inflammation or infection and increased protein.
- Blood tests are performed for getting information on the extent of kidney damage by the measurement of waste product levels.
- Imaging tests such as an X-ray or CT scan may be required for visualizing the kidneys.
- Kidney biopsy is an effective diagnosis, which involves the extraction of small pieces of the kidney via a special needle. The extracted pieces are studied under a microscope for diagnosis.
The treatment for glomerulonephritis or glomerular disease aims at protecting the kidneys from more damage.
Keeping the blood pressure under control is important for protection of the kidneys. You should take prescribed medications for the management of blood pressure. Other medications are prescribed for the treatment of underlying causes, which lead to glomerular disease with kidney inflammation.
In recent times, doctors have seen increasing incidence of renal or kidney stones. Numerous patients are now coming to doctors with lower abdominal and lower back pain linked to renal uretic stones. In fact, the intensity of pain these patients feel has been proven to be second only to labour pains during childbirth. It is already well known that the cases of stones increase during summer, due to the lack of urination and concentration of salts in the urine. However, now the lack of water and concentration of salts may not be the only reason behind these stones.
According to some Indian doctors in India’s eastern city of Kolkata, they have been coming across a type of stones, called “lifestyle stones” which are formed in the kidney and then pass into the Ureter. These stones get stuck in the Ureter causing the unbearable pain known as Ureteric colic. It has been noticed that these stones are smaller in size than the traditional kidney stones. In such a scenario, you must know that when and why must call on a doctor as you experience abdominal pain.
Some interesting facts about kidney stones: It has been noticed by several doctors across the globe that multiple stones can be formed at the same time. They believe that the pain is in most cases accompanied by severe nausea. These are treated in a two-pronged approach. In the first stage, the pain is taken care of. Once the pain is under control, doctors ask you for a urine test. Later, you need to go through a USG followed by a CT Scan. This is conducted to identify the location of the stone. The stone or clusters of stones are then shattered or destroyed with the use of a laser beam or a Holmium laser.
When it is must to see a doctor?
Kidney stones need medical attention. You can’t keep waiting for things to get worst as your entire excretion process is disturbed. The presence of stones will raise the toxic levels in your body. Forget the kidneys; it may also damage other organs. Therefore, it is always advisable to see a doctor as soon as the symptoms are noticed. You must pay the visit to a doctor, if you are experiencing or have noticed these symptoms:
1. Severe pain in the side, abdomen, groin, or genitals.
2. Presence of blood in the urine.
3. If you see signs of a urinary tract infection, including any pain or burning sensation at the time of urination
4. Severe Vomiting
5. Fever and shivering
You may experience a kidney failure when your kidneys are unable to filter waste from your blood in a sufficient amount. Several factors such as toxic exposure to pollutants, extreme dehydration, kidney trauma and other chronic diseases may lead to kidney failure. The body gets overloaded with toxins, which may trigger the kidney failure.
People prone to kidney failure generally suffer from one or several of these following conditions:
- Loss of blood flow to the kidney
- Sudden loss of blood flow into the kidney may cause kidney failure. Several conditions and diseases such as heart attack, heart diseases, severe burns, allergic reactions, severe infections or scarring of the liver may cause loss of blood. Anti-inflammatory medicines as well as medicines for blood pressure are used for managing blood flow.
- Diabetes and High Blood Pressure are one of the main cause of chronic kidney disease. Controlling blood sugar levels and maintain blood pressure in normal range can prevent kidney failure.
- Problems with elimination of urine
- When the body is unable to eliminate urine, toxins are built up, which cause overloading of the kidneys. The urine passageways may get blocked due to certain types of cancers, such as colon, bladder and cervical cancer.
- Several other conditions such as kidney stones, an enlarged prostate and blood clots developing within the urinary tract can lead to problems with urine elimination.
Many other conditions may lead to kidney failure. These include blood clots around the kidney, infections, toxic overload from heavy metals, alcohol and drugs. Others include:
- An inflammatory disease of blood vessels
- Lupus, an autoimmune disease, which causes inflammation of several organs of the body
- Glomerulonephritis, a condition which involves inflammation of blood vessels of the kidney
- Hemolytic uremic syndrome, a condition where red blood cells are broken down after a bacterial infection
- Multiple myelomas, a cancer of the plasma cells present in the bone marrow
- Scleroderma, an autoimmune disease in which your skin is affected
- Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, a disorder causing blood clots in small vessels
- Chemotherapy drugs, which are used for cancer treatment
- Certain dyes used for imaging tests
- Several antibiotic medicines
There are several symptoms, which indicate kidney failure. In some cases, symptoms are not experienced. Generally, the common symptoms of kidney failure include the following:
- Reduced amount of urine
- Swelling of ankles, feet and legs due to fluid retention as the kidneys cannot eliminate sufficient waste
- Shortness of breath
- Fatigue and drowsiness
- Feeling confused
- Pain and pressure in the chest
- Seizures and coma
There are several types of kidney failure in general. They include acute prerenal kidney failure, acute intrinsic kidney failure, chronic prerenal kidney failure, chronic intrinsic kidney failure and chronic post-renal kidney failure. It is recommended that you consult a doctor upon experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Are you experiencing symptoms such as blood in your urine, high blood pressure, an increased urge for urination, difficulty in urination or painful urination? These clearly indicate some problems or disorders with your kidneys. A kidney function test is a diagnostic test, which is carried out for detection of kidney problems. After proper diagnosis, treatment methods are considered.
Types of kidney function test
There are several types of kidney function test, which can be suggested by a doctor as these help in the estimation of the glomerular filtration rate or GFR. The GFR determines how fast the kidneys are eliminating waste materials.
- Urinalysis: This test is carried out for detection of the amount of protein and blood in urine. Protein may be found in the urine for several reasons, but all of them are not related to kidney diseases. This test is repeated after some weeks to notice the differences in result.
- Serum creatinine test: This blood test is used for examining whether creatinine is developing in the blood. The kidneys filter creatinine from the blood completely, and high creatinine levels indicate some kidney problem.
- Blood urea nitrogen or BUN test: This test checks the amount of waste products along with the amount of nitrogen in the blood. Nitrogen is obtained after the breakdown of proteins. Several common medicines, including some antibiotics, may increase the blood urea nitrogen levels.
- Estimated glomerular filtration rate: This test is carried out for estimating how well the kidney is functioning in the filtration of waste. The rate is determined by examining factors such as test results, age, gender, height and weight.
How are the tests obtained?
- A kidney function test requires a fresh urine sample and a blood test.
- A 24-hour urine sample helps in the determination of the amount of creatinine expelled by the body in a single day. Except morning, you should urinate in a special container given by your health provider. You must keep the container capped and refrigerated during the process of collection. You should label the containers properly.
- Blood samples are also required for undergoing BUN and serum creatinine tests. An elastic band will be tied to your upper arm, and a hollow needle gets inserted into your skin into the vein. The collected blood is sent to the laboratory for testing and analysis.
Kidney Ultrasound : Is a noninvasive diagnostic exam that produces images, which are used to assess the size, shape, and location of the kidneys. Ultrasound may also be used to assess blood flow to the kidneys. This ultrasound should be done every year to check the health status of the kidney during the full body check up. Ultrasound can detect cysts, tumors, abscesses, obstructions, fluid collection, and infection within or around the kidneys. Stones of the kidney and ureters may be detected by ultrasound.
In case you see any symptom, which indicates some kind of a kidney problem, you must consult a doctor immediately, who will prescribe you the necessary kidney function test required to be carried out. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
If you are concerned about your health, it is important for you to keep your kidneys protected from several harmful conditions. There are several types of kidney disorders, which may develop if your kidneys are not well cared for. This may include overload of toxins, acute renal failure, chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease. Kidney cancer is another fatal threat.
Steps to keep your kidneys healthy
There are several ways you can undertake for keeping your kidneys safe. They include the following:
- Take certain tests for obtaining the panel reading of your BUN or blood urea nitrogen and creatinine levels. The estimated glomerular filtration rate (EGFR) must be determined as well. The scores obtained from these tests will tell you about the condition of your kidneys at that point of time.
- Lower the amount of phosphorous intake. When the kidney does not function properly, phosphorus accumulation is likely, which causes serious conditions like heart disorders and calcification of the tissues. You should avoid phosphorous-rich food items and abstain from drinking carbonated drinks.
- You must consume several kidney-supportive food items, which may include watermelon, cranberries, cabbage, cauliflower, blueberries, strawberries, apples, garlic, onions and olive oil.
- Obesity is linked with kidney cancer and hence, you must maintain a healthy weight. Carry out regular exercises.
- Several pain relievers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDS may have harmful side effects on the kidney and may lead to kidney cancer. Try to avoid these medicines.
- You can take an Epsom salt bath. This is a common measure for detoxification, and the wastes and toxins get removed, improving the kidney’s health rapidly. Have regular checkups of blood and urine along with ultra-sound to know kidneys are working good.
- You should keep your blood-sugar level and blood pressure under control as they are triggers for kidney failure. You should quit smoking and stop using tobacco in any form as the toxins from nicotine harm the kidneys.
With proper care and management of your kidneys, you will be able to prevent several harmful conditions.One should get Kidney function test and Ultrasound done to check that the kidney is functioning normally.