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How Much Kidney Do You Need To Function

Can You Drink Alcohol With Only One Kidney

Assessing kidney functionhow much do you really need and how to preserve what you have

Many of your bodys organs are affected by alcohol including your kidneys. Drinking in moderation usually wont harm your kidneys.

Alcohol increases the amount of urine you produce but reduces your kidneys ability to filter blood. This disrupts the fluid and electrolyte balance in your body, and you become dehydrated.

Without enough fluid in your body, the cells in your organs, including your kidneys, cant function properly. Eventually it may cause permanent damage.

Your liver is also important for maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance. Liver damage from excessive alcohol interferes with this balance, making it even harder for your kidneys to work correctly.

The risk of kidney damage is even higher for heavy drinkers who also smoke.

Alcohol has this effect whether you have one or two kidneys, but it may lead to kidney failure more quickly when you only have one functioning kidney.

What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Failure

Symptoms of kidney failure may begin so slowly that you dont notice them right away.

Healthy kidneys prevent the buildup of wastes and extra fluid in your body and balance the salts and minerals in your bloodsuch as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and potassium. Your kidneys also make hormones that help control blood pressure, make red blood cells, and keep your bones strong.

Kidney failure means your kidneys no longer work well enough to do these jobs and, as a result, other health problems develop. As your kidney function goes down, you may

  • have swelling, usually in your legs, feet, or ankles
  • get headaches
  • feel itchy
  • feel tired during the day and have sleep problems at night
  • feel sick to your stomach, lose your sense of taste, not feel hungry, or lose weight
  • make little or no urine
  • have muscle cramps, weakness, or numbness
  • have pain, stiffness, or fluid in your joints
  • feel confused, have trouble focusing, or have memory problems

Following your treatment plan can help you avoid or address most of these symptoms. Your treatment plan may include regular dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant, a special eating plan, physical activity, and medicines.

How Do My Kidneys Work

Each of your kidneys is made up of about a million filtering units called nephrons. Each nephron includes a filter, called the glomerulus, and a tubule. The nephrons work through a two-step process: the glomerulus filters your blood, and the tubule returns needed substances to your blood and removes wastes.

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Kidneys Are Sensitive To Their Environment

Humans are a complex and integrated creation and the kidneys work with the rest of your organs to help you live a healthy life. Unfortunately, when one organ or system fails to work properly, others can begin to fail as a result.

Whether they begin the process of failure, or are responding to other organ failures, when the kidneys falter, many life-altering issues can result.

Like any intricate machine, the kidney is highly sensitive to its environment. Every time our heart beats, the kidneys get about 20 percent of the blood that is pumped. If the kidneys do not receive enough blood, they will start to deteriorate.

Many acute illnesses, which are illnesses or medical conditions with severe or sudden onset, can cause blood flow to fall. So its very common to have acute kidney injury whenever we get acutely ill.

Can I Be Active With Kidney Failure

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Yes. Physical activity is an important part of staying healthy when you have kidney failure. Being active makes your muscles, bones, and heart stronger. Physical activity also makes your blood travel through your body faster so your body gets more oxygen. Your body needs oxygen to use the energy from food.

You may find that physical activity can also improve your mood and make you feel better.

Talk with your doctor before you start a new exercise routine. Start slowly, with easier activities such as walking at a normal pace or gardening. Work up to harder activities such as walking briskly. Aim to be active on as many days as possible.

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How Long Can You Live On Dialysis

If your kidneys have failed, you will need to have dialysis treatments for your whole life unless you are able to get a kidney transplant. Life expectancy on dialysis can vary depending on your other medical conditions and how well you follow your treatment plan. Average life expectancy on dialysis is 5-10 years, however, many patients have lived well on dialysis for 20 or even 30 years. Talk to your healthcare team about how to take care of yourself and stay healthy on dialysis.

How Will I Pay For A Transplant

Medicare covers about 80% of the costs associated with an evaluation, transplant operation, follow-up care, and anti-rejection medicines. Private insurers and state programs may cover some costs as well. However, your post-transplant expenses may only be covered for a limited number of years. Its important to discuss coverage with your social worker, who can answer your questions or direct you to others who can help.

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What Are Some Of The Causes Of Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease is defined as having some type of kidney abnormality, or “marker”, such as protein in the urine and having decreased kidney function for three months or longer.

There are many causes of chronic kidney disease. The kidneys may be affected by diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Some kidney conditions are inherited .

Others are congenital that is, individuals may be born with an abnormality that can affect their kidneys. The following are some of the most common types and causes of kidney damage.

Diabetes is a disease in which your body does not make enough insulin or cannot use normal amounts of insulin properly. This results in a high blood sugar level, which can cause problems in many parts of your body. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease.

High blood pressure is another common cause of kidney disease and other complications such as heart attacks and strokes. High blood pressure occurs when the force of blood against your artery walls increases. When high blood pressure is controlled, the risk of complications such as chronic kidney disease is decreased.

Glomerulonephritis is a disease that causes inflammation of the kidney’s tiny filtering units called the glomeruli. Glomerulonephritis may happen suddenly, for example, after a strep throat, and the individual may get well again.However, the disease may develop slowly over several years and it may cause progressive loss of kidney function.

What Are The Complications Of A Solitary Kidney

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Complications from a solitary kidney are rare but may include

  • increased protein in the urine, known as albuminuria.
  • a lower-than-normal glomerular filtration rate , which measures how quickly your kidneys filter wastes and extra fluid from your blood. While less common, this complication can at times lead to kidney failure.
  • high blood pressure.
  • high blood pressure during pregnancy. This complication less commonly results in organ damage in the mother or child, a condition known as preeclampsia.

People with kidney agenesis or kidney dysplasia can be at an increased risk for developing kidney disease. For example, if your solitary kidney functioned normally during childhood, you still have an increased risk of having decreased kidney function as an adult.4,5

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Are Dietary Changes Needed

In general, people with one healthy kidney dont need special diets. However, its always good to:

  • have a healthy well-balanced diet
  • reduce your salt intake

Dietary restrictions arent usually necessary for people who have received a transplanted kidney but its still worth following a healthy diet and watching your salt intake. However, you will probably be advised to avoid fresh grapefruit or grapefruit juice because they can interfere with certain medications. If you are advised by your kidney consultant to make specific changes to your diet, ask to be referred to the renal dietitian and follow their advice.

For more information about diet and kidney disease take a look at our dietary hints and tips.

What Happens If You Have Kidney Disease

Kidney disease can be treated. The sooner you know you have kidney disease, the sooner you can get treatment to help delay or prevent kidney failure. Treating kidney disease may also help prevent heart disease.

Treatment goals are to:

  • If you smoke, take steps to quit.
  • Take medicines the way your provider tells you to.

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How Common Is A Solitary Kidney

Globally, an estimated 1 in 2,000 babies1 are born each year with kidney agenesis and between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 4,300 babies are born with kidney dysplasia. The estimates are probably low because some babies are never diagnosed with these conditions, particularly in countries where pregnant women do not routinely undergo prenatal ultrasounds.

Between 2008 and 2017, more than 58,000 Americans gave a kidney2 as living donors and more than 255,000 people had a kidney surgically removed to treat cancer,3 leaving them with solitary kidneys.

What Is Kidney Dialysis

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Because there is no cure for CKD, if you are in late-stage disease, you and your healthcare team must consider additional options. Complete kidney failure, left untreated, will result in death. Options for end stages of CKD include dialysis and kidney transplantation.

Dialysis is a procedure that uses machines to remove waste products from your body when your kidneys are no longer able to perform this function. There are two major types of dialysis.

Hemodialysis: With hemodialysis, your blood is circulated through a machine that removes waste products, excess water and excess salt. The blood is then returned to your body. Hemodialysis requires three to four hours, three times a week and is performed at a clinic, hospital or dialysis center.

Peritoneal dialysis: In peritoneal dialysis, a dialysis solution is run directly into your abdomen. The solution absorbs waste and then is removed via catheter. Fresh solution is added to continue the process of cleaning. You can perform this type of dialysis yourself. There are two types of peritoneal dialysis: continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis , which involves a change in dialysis solution four times a day and continuous cycling peritoneal dialysis . CCPD uses a machine to automatically fill, remove wastes, and refill the fluid during the nighttime.

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How Can You Protect Your Kidneys

Monitoring

Your doctor should monitor your kidney function by checking your blood pressure and testing your urine and blood once a year.

Controlling Blood Pressure

If your blood pressure is above normal, you should work with your doctor to keep it below 130/80. Great care should be taken in selecting blood pressure medicines for people with a solitary kidney. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers are two classes of blood pressure medicine that protect kidney function and reduce proteinuria. But these medicines may be harmful to someone with renal artery stenosis , which is the narrowing of the arteries that enter the kidneys. Diuretics can help control blood pressure by removing excess fluid in the body. Controlling your blood pressure may require a combination of two or more medicines, plus changes in diet and activity level.

Eating Sensibly

Avoiding Injury

Improving Your Kidney Function Can Be Simple

So you see for many, improving kidney function doesnt need to be difficult. In most cases, simply by stepping to the side and getting out of your own way, checking your thoughts, fears, and excuses at the door, you can catalyse massive changes in your health, by simply allowing the healing to take place.

Rubbing Lanterns Wont Help Improve Your Kidney Function, But Heres What Can

Now stay with me I am not saying that that you can cure all by thinking just happy thoughts, wishing, and getting out of the way, no definitely not. There are many practical things you can do every day, with little to no fuss that are very effective in helping increase kidney function. Very helpful indeed.

Note: thinking positive however sure wont hurt, in fact it will go a long way your mindset is the single biggest determining factor on how quickly you heal.

So in tune with todays theme of simplicity, I would like to share with you 10 effortless tips that can be applied immediately to help your kidney function, no need to leave home, and no need to spend a dime.

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What Is A Kidney Transplant

A kidney transplant is a surgery done to replace a diseased kidney with ahealthy kidney from a donor. The kidney may come from a deceased organdonor or from a living donor. Family members or others who are a good matchmay be able to donate one of their kidneys. This type of transplant iscalled a living transplant. People who donate a kidney can live healthylives with one healthy kidney.

A person getting a transplant most often gets just 1 kidney. In raresituations, he or she may get 2 kidneys from a deceased donor. The diseasedkidneys are usually left in place. The transplanted kidney is placed in thelower belly on the front side of the body.

It Can Sometimes Do The Work Of Two

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Tests have shown that some people who have had one kidney removed can have increased function in their remaining kidney. These increased function levels can equate to around 70 per cent of that normally achieved by two kidneys.

If someone is born with a single kidney, their overall kidney function is often normal.

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Can You Live Without Your Kidneys

1 Minute Read

Medically Reviewed by Transplant Services

Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs found just below the rib cage. Most people are born with two one on each side of the spine.

Your kidneys are two of the most vital organs in your body. They work to keep your blood stable, allowing your body to function properly.

Each day your kidneys filter about 120 to 150 quarts of blood into urine. They prevent the buildup of waste and extra fluid, and produce hormones that help your body:

  • Regulate blood pressure
  • Build healthy and strong bones

How Is A Single Kidney Different

It needs more protection. Single normal kidneys tend to grow faster and get larger than normally paired kidneys. For this reason, single kidneys can be more vulnerable to injury especially from certain heavy contact sports.

Transplanted kidneys are also less protected than other kidneys because they are usually placed into the pelvis.

So if you have one functioning kidney it may be advisable to avoid sports including:

  • boxing
  • wrestling

If you still want to participate in these sports make sure you are extra careful and always wear protective padding but always seek medical advice first.

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Monitoring And Controlling Your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can damage blood vessels in your solitary kidney. If your kidneys blood vessels are damaged, they may no longer work properly. When this happens, the kidney is not able to remove all wastes and extra fluid from your body. Extra fluid in the blood vessels can raise your blood pressure even more, creating a dangerous cycle, and cause more damage leading to kidney failure.

If your health care professional diagnoses you with high blood pressure, he or she may prescribe one or more blood pressure-lowering medicines. Medicines that lower blood pressure can also significantly slow the progression of kidney disease.

Two types of blood pressure-lowering medicines, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers , may be effective in slowing your kidney disease progression while also lowering your blood pressure. A health care professional may also prescribe a diuretic.

Symptoms Of Kidney Disease

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Each person may have different symptoms of kidney disease. Here are the most common:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Itchiness all over the body
  • Blood in the urine
  • Relieve swelling
  • Protect your bones

Your kidney doctor also may recommend a lower protein diet to minimize waste products in your blood. Regular follow-up kidney tests may be necessary to see if your disease remains stable or is progressing.

I think I can confidently say that we all want to live a healthy life without having to worry about our kidneys failing, Dr. Young says. I believe the most important part of my job is to try to prevent further damage to the kidneys and try to help people live as long as possible, as naturally as possible.

Steven Baldridge, RN, is a staff educator at University Hospitals Samaritan Medical Center.

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Tips To Be Water Wise For Healthy Kidneys

Keep your kidneys healthy by being water wise. This means drinking the right amount of water for you. A common misconception is that everyone should drink eight glasses of water per day, but since everyone is different, daily water needs will vary by person. How much water you need is based on differences in age, climate, exercise intensity, as well as states of pregnancy, breastfeeding, and illness.

About 60-70% of your body weight is made up of water, and every part of your body needs it to function properly. Water helps the kidneys remove wastes from your blood in the form of urine. Water also helps keep your blood vessels open so that blood can travel freely to your kidneys, and deliver essential nutrients to them. But if you become dehydrated, then it is more difficult for this delivery system to work. Mild dehydration can make you feel tired, and can impair normal bodily functions. Severe dehydration can lead to kidney damage, so it is important to drink enough when you work or exercise very hard, and especially in warm and humid weather.

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