What Causes Kidney Malfunction
A major culprit of kidney problems is an acidic diet . A brand-new study sheds light on the renal problems that can be caused by a high-acid, meat-rich diet.
The study followed 1,500 people with kidney disease for a period of 14 years. Participants who ate a diet high in meat came very close to experiencing complete kidney failure, while those who ate more fruits and vegetables did not even come close to kidney failure. Researchers estimate that an acidic diet can make it three times more likely for your kidneys to fail.1
Says lead study author Dr. Tanushree Banejee,
Patients with chronic kidney disease may want to pay more attention to diet consumption of acid rich foods to reduce progression to kidney failuredialysis treatmentsmay be avoided by adopting a more healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables.1
Will I Need To Take Medicines Or Follow A Special Diet
Most likely. Your healthcare team will work with you to develop a treatment plan that’s right for you. Your treatment plan may include taking medicines, restricting salt, limiting certain foods, getting exercise, and more. You will also need treatment for any other health problems you may have, including high blood pressure or diabetes.
Most Common Questions Kidney Patients Ask Doctors
What do the kidneys do?
The job of your kidneys;is to get rid of food and water that becomes waste products, as well as:
Kidney diseases can prevent kidneys from doing their job. Problems such as not removing waste products, allowing blood or protein to leak into the urine or too much potassium in the blood are effects of kidney disease.
I go to the bathroom frequently; doesnt that mean my kidneys are working normally?
Not necessarily. When the kidneys make urine, the urine flows down a tube called the ureter and empties into the bladder. When the bladder becomes full, you feel the urge to pass urine. Some people with severe kidney disease make urine that has a lot of water, but almost no waste products in it. Blood tests for these people show a high level of waste products in the blood, and often other blood testssuch as for potassiumwill not be normal.
Some people who urinate frequently are concerned they have kidney disease. However, frequent urination is often a symptom of a bladdernot a kidneyproblem. Your doctor should be able to determine the difference by doing blood and urine tests and sometimes x-rays.
How would I know if I have kidney disease?
Since many kidney diseases do not cause symptoms in the early stages, your doctor can do screening tests to see if you have kidney disease.
The main tests for kidney disease are:
Other causes include:
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Treatments For Kidney Infections
Your doctor may first prescribe a general antibiotic. When the lab results come in, they may switch to a specific antibiotic that treats the type of infection you have. It’s common to have antibiotics prescribed for at least two weeks. It’s important to complete the antibiotic course so that the infection doesn’t return.
If your infection is severe, you may have to be hospitalized. Antibiotics, as well as fluids, may be given through an IV in your arm to ensure the drug will reach the kidneys.
If your infection is due to an underlying medical problem such as kidney stones or an enlarged prostate, you might have to be referred to a specialist for treatment.
Are You At High Risk
You can be at higher-than-average risk for kidney disease if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of kidney failure or if youre older than age 60. If you meet any of these criteria, its important to get tested for kidney disease every year. During this test, be sure to mention any symptoms youre experiencing to your healthcare provider.
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You’re Fatigued Or Feel Weak
Tired and dont know why? Low iron, a CKD symptom, could be the culprit. One of your kidneys jobs is to create red blood cells, says Spigler. When your kidneys arent working well, they may not produce enough red blood cells, leading you to develop anemia. Red blood cells carry oxygen to various parts of your body, so when youre running low on supply, oxygen isnt getting to key organs and muscles, causing fatigue. Another possible reason for feeling tired: A build-up of extra fluid, toxins, and impurities in your bloodwhich happens when kidneys cant filter them out properly.
How Can I Prevent Ckd
Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of CKD. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, working with your doctor to keep your blood sugar and blood pressure under control is the best way to prevent kidney disease.
Living a healthy lifestyle can help prevent diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease, or help keep them under control. Follow these tips to lower your risk for kidney disease and the problems that cause it:
- Follow a low-salt, low-fat diet
- Exercise at least 30 minutes on most days of the week
- Have regular check-ups with your doctor
- Do not smoke or use tobacco
- Limit alcohol
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Treating Chronic Kidney Disease
There is no cure for chronic kidney disease, although treatment can slow or halt the progression of the disease and can prevent other serious conditions developing.
People with CKD are known to have an increased risk of a heart attack because of changes that occur to the circulation.
In;a;minority of people, CKD may cause kidney failure, also known as established renal failure or end-stage kidney disease. In this situation, the usual functions of the kidney stop working.
To survive, people with ERF may need to have artificial kidney treatment, called dialysis, or a kidney transplant.
Read more about living with chronic kidney disease
When Should I Call The Doctor
A nephrologist receives special training in kidney evaluation and treatment. You may benefit from a kidney specialists expert opinion if:
- You have trouble keeping your blood pressure levels in a normal range, even with medication.
- Your blood sugar levels fluctuate widely.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/11/2018.
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Hepatitis C And Kidney Disease
Hepatitis C is a viral disease that affects the liver. The liver is an organ in the human body that converts everything you eat or drink into nutrients and gets rid of toxins. There is a connection between hepatitis C and kidney disease. Hep C can cause kidney disease, and sometimes kidney patients can get hep C from hemodialysis, a treatment for kidney failure, if a medical facility does not carefully follow guidelines for infection control. Learn why every kidney patient should be tested for hepatitis C.
Can Kidney Failure Be Prevented
While kidney failure from chronic kidney disease cant be reversed, you can do many things to help preserve the kidney function you have today. Healthy habits and routines may slow down how quickly kidneys lose their functional abilities.
If you have chronic kidney disease or kidney failure, youll want to:
- Monitor your kidney function, with your doctors help.
- Keep your blood sugar levels under control, if you have diabetes.
- Keep your blood pressure levels in a normal range.
- Avoid smoking.
- Make healthy diet choices, such as limiting foods high in protein and sodium.
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What Do The Kidneys Do
The kidneys have several jobs. One of the most important is helping your body eliminate toxins. The kidneys filter your blood and send waste out of your body in urine.
The kidneys are bean-shaped organs about the size of your fist. They sit under your ribcage, toward your back. Most people have two working kidneys, but people can live well as long as at least one is working correctly.
When the kidneys dont work effectively, waste products build up in your body. If this happens, you might feel sick. In the most serious situations, kidney failure can be life-threatening. However, many people can manage kidney failure with the right treatment.
Feeling Faint Dizzy Or Weak
Why this happens:
Anemia related to kidney failure means that your brain is not getting enough oxygen. This can lead to feeling faint, dizzy, or weak.
What patients said:
I was always tired and dizzy.
It got to the point, like, I used to be at work, and all of the sudden I’d start getting dizzy. So I was thinking maybe it was my blood pressure or else diabetes was going bad. That’s what was on my mind.
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What Happens If A Kidney Infection Is Left Untreated
If a kidney infection is left untreated, it can lead to a number of complications including kidney scarring, blood poisoning, and pregnancy complications if you are expecting which is why its crucial to get in touch with your doctor if you are experiencing any symptoms or signs of kidney infection .
Its important to note that there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing a kidney infection including drinking plenty of water, urinating after sex, and going to the bathroom once you feel the urge to go.
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One of the most reliable ways to keep an eye on your kidney health is through regular testing; this can be done with your doctor or if you would prefer, from the comfort of home with an at-home lab test.
LetsGetCheckeds Kidney Function Test allows you to monitor your kidney function and performance. Online results will be available within 2-5 days and our dedicated clinical team will be available to answer any questions you may have throughout the process.
You should consider taking a Kidney Function Test if any of the below are applicable to you:
- You suffer from high blood pressure
- You suffer from diabetes
- You have suffered an acute injury
- You have persistent urinary tract infections
- You have kidney disease or a family history of one
- You have kidney stones or a family history of them
- You have a high protein diet
- You have been taking performance-enhancing drugs
Muscle Twitches And Cramps
In addition to sleep problems, people with late-stage CKD may also experience muscle twitches and crampsmost commonly in the legs. There are a variety of different causes of these cramps, including poor blood circulation as a result of fewer red blood cells transporting oxygen to the muscles.
Cramps can also occur if the individual is low on nutrients such as calcium and magnesium, or as a result of fluid and electrolyte loss from frequent vomiting or diarrhea. Nerve damagewhich results due to the poorly functioning kidneys allowing a build up of toxins in the bodymay also be responsible for the cramps.
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Causes Of Kidney Infections
Bacteria or viruses
Most kidney infections are caused by bacteria or viruses. The urinary system is designed in a way to keep bacteria out. Most of the time, the urinary tract flushes out bacteria before it reaches the bladder. However, sometimes your body is unable to fight the bacteria.
Experts say this usually begins as a bladder infection most often caused by bacteria that lives in your bowel, called E. coli. The bacteria then travels upstream to one or both of your kidneys. About one in 30 urinary tract infection cases leads to a kidney infection.
In some cases, a kidney infection can result if bacteria enters the body during surgery and then travels to the kidneys through the blood.
Kidney Failure Life Expectancy
Its not possible to know exactly how long a person with kidney failure will live. Every person with kidney failure is different.
In general, a person on dialysis can expect to live for an average of 5 to 10 years as long as they follow their treatment.
Some factors that play a role in life expectancy are:
- stage of kidney disease
- other coexisting conditions
A young person in midstage kidney failure who has no complicating risk factors or other conditions will likely live longer than an older individual with stage 4 or stage 5 kidney failure plus diabetes or cardiovascular disease.
Once you reach end-stage kidney failure, you will need dialysis to live. Missing even one treatment can decrease your life expectancy.
A kidney transplant is likely to last for about 5 to 10 years. Its possible to get a second transplant after the first transplant fails.
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Introduction To Your Kidneys
Your kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs located just below the rib cage, one on each side. Roughly the size of a fist, your kidneys serve many critical bodily functions.
Properly-functioning kidneys filter about a half-cup of blood every 60 seconds. This filtering blood allows the passage of urine while removing waste byproducts. Urine travels to the ureters, a pair of narrow tubes on each side of your bladder. The ureters store urine until it is passed.
Other functions of the kidneys include:
- Producing red blood cells
- Balancing electrolyte levels
- Preventing fluid and waste buildup in the body
Symptoms Of Kidney Pain
- A dull ache that’s usually constant
- Pain under your rib cage or in your belly
- Pain in your side; usually only one side, but sometimes both hurt
- Sharp or severe pain that may come in waves
- Pain that can spread to your groin area or belly
Other symptoms that can happen with kidney pain
The symptoms of your kidney pain depend on its cause. With kidney pain you may also have:
- Blood in your urine
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How The Kidneys Work
While we dont talk too much about our kidneys, theyre remarkably intricate, efficient, and versatile.
Nephrons are the filtering units within the kidneys, and there are about one million of them. Each of the million nephrons contains two filtering components the glomerulus and a tubule.
Nephrons are constantly performing a twofold process:
Nephrons glomerulus actively filters the blood.
The tubule transports the required elements to the blood while removing waste.
The glomerulus consists of remarkably thin walls, allowing it to pass fluids, tiny molecules, and wastes to the tubule. The tubule transfers the remaining fluids and wastes to the ureters to be excreted in the form of urine.
The kidneys are part of the bodys urinary tract , along with the bladder, ureters, and urethra. The urinary tracts primary jobs are to:
- Balance electrolyte and metabolite levels
- Eliminate blood waste products
- Regulate blood pressure and volume
- Regulate blood pH
Shortness Of Breath After Very Little Effort
Why this happens:
Being short of breath can be related to the kidneys in two ways. First, extra fluid in the body can build up in the lungs. And second, anemia can leave your body oxygen-starved and short of breath.
What patients said:
At the times when I get the shortness of breath, it’s alarming to me. It just fears me. I think maybe I might fall or something so I usually go sit down for awhile.
I couldn’t sleep at night. I couldn’t catch my breath, like I was drowning or something. And, the bloating, can’t breathe, can’t walk anywhere. It was bad.
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Acute Intrinsic Kidney Failure
Acute intrinsic kidney failure can result from direct trauma to the kidneys, such as physical impact or an accident. Causes also include toxin overload and ischemia, which is a lack of oxygen to the kidneys.
The following may cause ischemia:
- severe bleeding
There are several tests your doctor can use to diagnose kidney failure.
Symptom #: Urine Color Changes
Normally, urine should be pale yellow in color due to the fact that it contains urochrome, a substance produced when hemoglobin gets broken down. In certain cases when there is a kidney problem, urine might change its normal color. If dark yellow urine is present, this means that you are dehydrated and that you should drink more fluids. Brown or even black urine is also possible and, in this case, it is caused by liver conditions like hepatitis, cirrhosis, a blockage of the bile duct, hemolytic anemia, and melanoma. However, certain foods like fava beans can also turn urine brown. Having orange urine is mostly related to the use of certain medications like rifampin, isoniazid, and riboflavin. Having a milky white urine is related to urinary tract infections.
Urine can change its color into a light pink, red, or very dark red as well. This means that there is a presence of blood in urine, medically known as hematuria. Urinary tract infections, kidney stones, prostate enlargement in men, but also cancer, can lead to the presence of blood in urine. Whenever there is a presence of blood in the urine, you should consult your doctor immediately and determine the underlying cause of this symptom.
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Correction Of Phosphate Balance
If you have stage four or five kidney disease, you can get a build-up of phosphate in your body because your kidneys cannot get rid of it. Phosphate is a mineral that, with calcium, makes up most of your bones. Phosphate is obtained through diet, mainly dairy foods. The kidneys usually filter out;excess phosphate. If phosphate levels rise too much, it can upset the normal calcium balance of the body. This can lead to thinning of the bones and furring of the arteries.
You may be asked to limit the amount of phosphate in your diet. Foods;high in phosphate include red meat, dairy produce, eggs and fish. Your GP or dietitian should be able to advise you about how much phosphate you can eat. However, there is no advantage in reducing your intake of these foods unless you have a raised phosphate level.;Always ask;a healthcare professional before changing your diet.
If reducing the amount of phosphate in your diet does not lower your phosphate level enough, you may be given medicines called phosphate binders. These medicines bind to the phosphate in the food inside your stomach and stop it from being absorbed into your body.
To work properly, phosphate binders must be taken just before meals. The most commonly used phosphate binder;is calcium carbonate, but there;are also alternatives that may be more suitable for;you.
The side effects of phosphate binders are uncommon but include:
- itchy skin