- by Portea HomeCare
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- Mar 10 2017
Facts on problems affecting the kidneys
What are kidney diseases?
The kidneys are a pair of bean shaped organs which are situated right at the bottom of the human rib cage. Each kidney is on either side of the spine.
The essence of healthy kidney functioning lies in the fact that they help filter out excess water, toxins and other impurities from the blood stream and the system. These toxic substances are then stored inside the bladder, ultimately to be excreted out of the body through urination. A healthy set of kidneys also regulate sodium, potassium and pH levels in the body. Hormones that control blood pressure and the synthesis of RBCs are also produced by the kidneys. They activate a certain type of Vitamin D that makes calcium absorption by the body easier.
Kidney problems can be many and sundry. Kidney damage can be caused by conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and other underlying chronic health issues. If the diseases worsen over time, the kidneys may wear out and stop functioning completely; a scenario that would warrant dialysis to perform the same functions. However, dialysis can’t remedy or reverse the damage caused to the kidneys, but can certainly prolong one’s life.
Causes and types of kidney problems/diseases
- Chronic kidney disease
This is the most common of them all. Normally caused as a result of hypertension, this is a chronic condition that usually doesn’t improve over time. High blood pressure ups the pressure put on the glomeruli (small cleansing blood vessels of the kidneys). With time, increasing pressure completely damages these vessels, thus degrading kidney functioning. After considerable damage, the only option left would be the need to go for dialysis. Dialysis performs the same functions the kidneys did. Kidney replacement is another alternative in this regard. One of the major causes of kidney diseases is diabetes.
- Kidney stones
Minerals and other substances present in the blood crystallize within the kidneys that lead to the formation of kidney stones. Usually, kidney stones pass out of the body while urinating. Passing these stones can be extremely uncomfortable and painful, however, there is rarely any significant problem posed by these formations.
This is characterized by glomerular inflammation. The glomeruli are the tiny blood vessels present in the kidneys that help to filter the blood off its impurities and toxins. Glomerulonephritis can be the result of certain drugs, infections or other congenital abnormalities. Usually, this condition resolves on its own.
- Polycystic kidney disorder (PCKD)
A genetic disorder, it is marked by the growth of numerous fluid filled sacs or cysts on the kidneys. These cysts might hamper kidney functioning and lead to kidney failure as well. Here it is important to take note that individual and sporadic cysts are always harmless; however, PCKD is an entirely separate condition.
Urinary Tract Infections consist of bacterial infections that may affect any part of the entire respiratory system. Urethral and bladder infections are the most common. Urinary tract infections can be easily treated and rarely go on to cause other complications. However, if not detected and treated on time, it might cause further damage to the kidneys and lead to renal failure.
What are the common symptoms?
Kidney diseases can almost go unnoticed till the symptoms start turning severe. The common symptoms that show up are:
- Troubled sleeping
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Cramped muscles
- Poor/reduced appetite
- Swollen ankles/feet
- Puffy eyes, especially in the morning
- Scaly and dry skin
- Frequent urination
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