What do the kidneys do?
Kidneys remove waste products such as urea which is formed when proteins are broken down. They help
to balance essential ions (such as sodium, potassium and calcium) in the body. Hormones like erythropoietin
secreted by the kidneys help in controlling blood pressure and stimulate bone marrow to produce red blood
cells. With the help of kidneys the body is able to get rid of not only fluids but also, excess waste, drugs or
other toxins through urine. Water balance is maintained by them by either holding back water or releasing
excess water through urine. When water is retained, more fluids enter blood vessels and the volume of blood
increases, thus increasing pressure. On the other hand if the release of water is more, the reverse condition occur.
Renin, a protein produced by the kidney cells have a hormone like effect that raises the blood pressure.
It also secretes calcitriol (active form of vitamin D), which maintains the calcium levels in the body. Acid-base
balance and energy metabolism are also influenced by these bean shaped organs.
What can affect its functions?
1. Kidney stones
It is caused due to the deposition of salts in the kidneys and along the urinary tract. These small hard
deposits are usually made up of calcium salts and uric acid.
It refers to the inflammation within the glomeruli (a cluster of blood vessels) or other parts of the kidney.
3. Chronic kidney disease (CKD)
A condition that refers to the loss of kidney function over a time period, at least for 3 months; due to which
the blood cannot be filtered properly. It is analyzed using glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), markers of kidney
damage or a combination of both.
4. Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)
A group of disorder that result in the development of multiple renal (kidney) cysts.
5. Lupus Nephritis
It is the inflammation of kidneys due to an autoimmune disorder (body attacking its own cells) called
systemic lupus erythematosus. In turn it may result in hematuria (blood in urine) and proteinuria (protein in urine).
One such under recognized problem is the chronic kidney disease. Healthy kidneys function to remove extra water and wastes, help control blood pressure, keep body chemicals in balance, keep bones strong, tell your body to make red blood cells and help children grow normally. Chronic kidney disease occurs when kidneys are no longer able to clean toxins and waste product from the blood and perform their functions to full capacity. This can happen all of a sudden or over time. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is the permanent loss of eGFR. Chronic kidney disease may be the result of physical injury or a disease that damages the kidneys, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. When the kidneys are damaged, they do not remove wastes and extra water from the blood as they are intended to. Chronic kidney disease is a silent condition. In the early stages, you will not notice any symptoms. CKD develops so slowly that many people don't realize they are sick until the disease is advanced and they are rushed to the hospital for life-saving dialysis. Risk factors are conditions that make you more likely to develop a disease. The leading risk factors for Chronic kidney disease are:
2. High blood pressure
3. Family history of kidney failure.
Having diabetes increases your risk of developing CKD. In fact, diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.
If you have kidney stone make sure that you are drinking at least 10 glasses of water a day.
High blood pressure is the second leading cause.Chronic kidney disease runs in families. So, you may have an increased risk if your mother, father, sister or brother has kidney failure Apart from diabetes, hypertension and family history of the disease there are several other factors that may contribute towards increased risk of the disease.
- High risk pregnancies
- Kidney stones
- Past history of acute kidney failure
- Old age
- Habitual consumption of pain killers, frequently
- Chronically infected with scabies and sore throats
- Certain medications
- Drinking hard water.
SYMPTOMS OF CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE:
- Fatigue and unexplained tiredness
- Feeling weak
- A loss of appetite (anorexia)
- Inability to sleep
- Inability to think clearly
- A swelling of the feet and ankles
Since early, CKD has no symptoms. The only way to find out if you have it, is through simple medical tests.
Blood pressure: High blood pressure can lead to kidney damage. It can also be a sign that kidney damage has already occurred. If your blood pressure is high, you'll have to get it under control to make sure your kidneys remain healthy.
Blood: The glomerular filtration rate (GFR) measures, how efficiently the kidneys are filtering waste from the blood. A new method of calculating GFR requires only a measurement of the creatinine in a blood sample. Creatinine is a waste product in the blood produced by the normal breakdown of muscle cells during activity. When kidneys are not working well, creatinine builds up in the blood.
Urine: Measuring the amount of a protein called albumin in the urine, can show a kidney problem. A large amount of protein in the urine is known as proteinuria and is a sign of kidney damage.
A test that can show smaller amounts of protein or albumin in the urine is called a microalbumin test and can be used to check the early damage to the kidneys.
Your doctor may also do a calculation of the protein-to-creatinine or albumin-to-creatinine ratio. Healthy kidneys move creatinine from the blood into the urine. A ratio greater than 30 milligrams of albumin per 1 gram of creatinine indicates that the kidneys are leaking helpful substances from the blood and failing to filter out harmful substances. This test should be used in people at high risk, especially those with diabetes.
If your first laboratory test shows high levels of protein, another test should be done 1 to 2 weeks later. If the second test also shows high levels of protein, you have persistent protein in the urine (proteinuria) and should have additional tests to test your kidney function.
Learning about reduced kidney function allows you to take steps to keep your kidneys healthy as long as possible. You can control many of the things that can make CKD worse and may lead to kidney failure.
Prevention strategy for population at risk: If you have diabetes, control your blood glucose. Studies show that keeping tight control of blood glucose can delay or prevent kidney failure. If you have high blood pressure, keep your blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg.
Management of Chronic kidney disease: If you have high blood pressure with CKD, keep your blood pressure below 130/80 mm Hg. Blood pressure medicines called ACE (angiotensin- converting enzyme) in hibitors and ARBs (angiotensin receptor blockers) protect the kidneys better than other medicines. You may need a combination of two or more drugs to keep your blood pressure below 130/80 mm Hg. In many cases, a medicine that lowers blood pressure by increasing urination, called a diuretic, should also be part of the plan.
If you have Chronic kidney disease, do not eat, too, much protein. Protein breaks down into the waste products that the kidneys must excrete. Reducing those waste products by eating less protein means the kidneys don't have to work so hard.
Finally the most important thing is to keep LDL cholesterol under control (less than 130mg/dl). CKD can lead to many other health problems, well before kidney failure occurs. Some of these include:
Anemia: Anemia develops, when the kidneys fail to produce enough erythropoietin, or EPO, the hormone that directs the bones to make red blood cells. Anemia can cause heart problems.
Bone problems : healthy kidneys help keep your bones strong by balancing the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood . Chronic kidney disease can lead to bone problems by throwing those minerals out of balance.
Acidosis : The kidneys also maintain the acid / base balance in the blood . Kidney problems may lead to acidosis , a condition in which the blood is too , acidic . Acidosis can disrupt body functions. If you have CKD, you will need to have regular checkups to monitor blood levels of creatinine, urea nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, parathyroid hormone, hemoglobin and cholesterol.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD): Patients with CKD are more likely to die from a heart attack or stroke than from kidney failure. Even a small loss of kidney function can double a person's risk of developing CVD.
Remember, kidneys are vital for life. Damage to the kidneys is irreversible. Regular screening coupled with healthy diet and monitoring of blood glucose and lipids in blood can all keep many diseases at bay .
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