We all lose a little of our kidney function as we get older. People can survive with just
one kidney even if they donate the other one. Kidneys might also begin to malfunction,
which is not realized for a long while.
Kidney disorders usually do not show any symptoms
until the problem becomes serious or irreversible. But when the function drops, extra water
and toxins start building up in the blood, leading to decrease in hormones
giving rise to several other problems. About 1 in 10 adults nationwide, or about 2 crore
people, have at least some signs of kidney damage.
Kidney disorders make the kidneys ineffective in cleansing off the blood losing their ability
to filter the supplementary water as well as to control the pressure of the blood in the body.
Lifestyle Factors fostering kidney disorders
Kidney Disorders are of the global public Health
are major contributors to the burden and are important traditional risk factors
for kidney disorders; however, nontraditional ones such as nephrotoxin (toxic
that damages the kidney cells or tissues) exposure, kidney stones, infections, environmental
factors and acute kidney injury, are also increasingly being recognized globally as major
threats to kidney health.
What are the risk factors of kidney disease?
Obesity is a potent risk factor contributing for the development of one of the kidney
disorders. Obese people may produce abnormal amounts of protein in urine, followed
by a progressive loss of renal (kidney) function. It also increases the risk of diabetes
and hypertension up to 2 to 6 times. Decreasing the prevalence of obesity by improving
factors may help in preventing kidney disorders.
Alcohol intake may have negative effects on renal function. It is a potential risk factor
for glomerular damage, hypertension and hypertensive nephrosclerosis. Average consumption
of more than two alcoholic drinks per day can increase the risk of kidney failure.
Smoking increases the risk of developing nephropathy in people with either type 1 or
type 2 diabetes
, and nearly doubles the rate of progression to end-stage renal failure.
It is accompanied by decrease in Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR
A balance of sodium and potassium
is required to pull water across the wall from the bloodstream into a collecting channel of
the kidney. A high salt diet alters this balance, causing the kidneys to have reduced function
and remove less water resulting in higher blood pressure. This strains the kidneys and may
lead to kidney disorders. A high salt intake increases the amount of proteins
in the urine,
which is a major risk factor for the decline of kidney function. It may worsen the kidney
disease in people already suffering from kidney disorders.
Sedentary behavior is one of the strongest risk factor for many Chronic
and conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, Diabetes, obesity,
, colon cancer, renal disease, and depression. Low physical fitness
combined with obesity
gives rise to a number of degenerative diseases including
Chronic Kidney Disorders.
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How many types of kidney diseases are there?
There are different types of kidney disorders/diseases. Most strike both kidneys at the same
time, harming the nephrons and reducing their ability of filtering. Enlisting the disorders:
Polycystic Kidney Disease
It is a genetic kidney disorder that causes many cysts filled with fluids to grow in
the kidneys. This malfunction is the most common. The affected kidney increases in
mass and causes excruciating pain.
Some symptoms include:
- Presence of blood in urine
- High blood pressure
- Painful menstruation
- Nail abnormalities
- Abdominal pain on either side
It is a disorder that causes irritation in glomeruli, which are tiny blood vessels in
the kidneys. This disorder is the result of inflammation, commonly arising due to
some medications, congenital or Metabolic
disorders. Other conditions as a consequence
of this inflammation are lupus nephritis and autoimmune nephritis. Common symptoms
- Reduced urine
- Loin pain
- Blood in the urine
- Acute kidney injury: kidney failure that happens very quickly, often because of injuries,
major blood loss or reactions to medicines
Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic Kidney Disease is among the most common kidney diseases. It develops and
gets worse over time. High blood pressure is the leading cause since it increases pressure
on the glomeruli, causing damage to these tiny vessels. In case of diabetes, increase in blood
sugar levels damage the vessels rendering kidney unable to perform its cleansing functions.
Progression of this disease leads to kidney failure, which demands dialysis or a kidney transplant.
- Muscle cramps
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Increased urination
Due to the malfunctioning of the kidney, acids which normally are excreted from the
body, accumulates in the blood. This causes the heart
to speed up the rate of breathing
causing several cardiovascular problems. Treatment for this type of disorder is usually
weight control and following a proper diet plan.
Another common kidney disorder is kidney cancer
. It is a cancer that
grows inside the kidneys. The National Cancer Centre, rated it as one of the most
common types of cancer. Cancer develops when kidney tissues grow at an abnormal
rate and fail to die off as required. Smoking, obesity, and high blood pressure increase
the chances of getting kidney cancer.
Pyelonephritis is commonly referred to as Urinary
Tract Infections (UTI). it is mostly
occasioned by bacterial or viral infections on parts of the urinary tract. Bladder and
urethra infections are common. This disorder is easily treatable and rarely causes health
complications unless left untreated. Renal infections are observed commonly in women (as well as pregnant women),
also seen in children (below 2 years of age) and individuals (above 60 years of age)
Unlike the name Renal infection, kidneys alone are not a part of this notorious
infection, as it begins from the urethra, spreads to the bladder, then the ureters
and eventually when left untreated/undetected move on to the bean shaped
organs, about the size of a fist. This spread of infection is exactly opposite to
that of the expulsion of urine from the body, which is a necessary function
wherein everyday, kidney is known to process 200 litres of blood to produce
2 litres of urine (composed of wastes and extra water).
Pyelonephritis is a bacterium or virus based infection, and though there is a
range of bacteria and viruses that cause pyelonephritis, Escherichia coli is
known to be a most common cause.
Pyelonephritis Risk Factors :
- Vesicoureteral reflux*
- Pregnant women
- People with diabetes
- Individuals having weakened immune system
- Men with enlarged prostate gland
- Those lacking Toilet hygiene
*Occurs when valve that prevents backward flow of urine, malfunctions.
Symptoms of Pyelonephritis
- Uncontrollable shivering
- Back pain
- Frequent, painful urination (Dysuria)
In case of corresponding bladder infection (Cystitis), an individual experiences,
- Bloody urine
- Cloudy urine
- Foul smelling urine
- Inability to urinate fully
How can Pyelonephritis be diagnosed?
Kidney health might seem unimportant, but if one wishes their body to function
well overall, these bean shaped organs cannot be ignored. And thus arises the
need to go preventive to fight these infections. However, it is advisable that at
a strike of a few symptoms an individual must go for the following diagnostic
approaches, which are prescribed based on the severity of symptoms,
Pyelonephritis is treated initially with antibiotics that fight the most common
types of bacteria. Meanwhile, the urinalysis or urine culture is performed to
analyse the type of infection, whereas the urinary tract obstructions are treated
with a surgery.
Kidneys may not be hyped much, like heart, liver or brain, but neglect their health
and one will put themselves in grave danger. Our body is our responsibility and
our responsibility is to take a proper care, a preventive care towards health,
which will eventually lead to harmony.
Kidney stones occur when minerals crystallize in the kidneys forming stones which are
passed during urination resulting in severe pain. Larger stones may block the kidney and
require surgical removal. They, however, do not cause fatal problems.
What tests are done to check kidney function?
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- Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR)Measurement and/or estimation
- Creatinine blood and urine tests
- Albumin Urine test
- Imaging tests, such as an Ultra-sound
- Kidney biopsy
How can you prevent kidney disorder?
There are plenty of measures that may aid in keeping kidneys healthy and help
prevent kidney disorder.
- Maintain healthy BMI: Being overweight increases the risk of diabetes and
high blood pressure, which in turn increase the risk of kidney disorders
- Eat healthy food, high in fruit and vegetables, low in salt, sugar and fats
- Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks
- Exercise regularly
- Avoid smoking
- Limit alcohol intake
- Find ways to help you relax and reduce stress
- Get your kidney check-up done, if in doubt about the risk
Manage it... Prevent it!
Complex as it may seem, renal functions are far more crucial to not only purify the
blood but also regulate the ions and electrolytes that maintain the body's homeostasis.
Also, any kind of infection affecting these functions, naturally influence our body on
the whole. The only way to manage it is to prevent it from damaging the body as much
as possible, which may include timely kidney function tests or urinalysis (if any
symptoms are observed).