What You Need To Know
You have two kidneys, located near the middle of your back, just below the rib cage. Each is about the size of your fist. Tiny structures called nephrons are inside each kidney and they filter the blood. There are about a million of them.
The kidneys are responsible for removing wastes, toxins and extra water from the body balancing important salts and minerals in the blood and releasing hormones to help control blood pressure, manage anemia and help maintain strong bones. The waste and extra water removed by the kidneys become urine. The urine flows through tubes called ureters. It goes to your bladder, which stores the urine until you go to the bathroom.
When the kidneys are damaged, they can’t filter blood as they should. The result can be a build-up of wastes in your body, as well as other problems that can harm your health.
One in three American adults is at high risk for developing kidney disease today. Yet most arent able to identify the signs and symptoms. One in nine American adults has kidney disease and most dont know it.
At first, kidney disease is silent. Symptoms often dont appear until the kidneys are badly damaged. Many people don’t have any symptoms until their kidney disease is advanced. Blood and urine tests are the only way to know if you have kidney disease.
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What Are The Main Causes Of Kidney Failure
Each body organ plays an important role but we start realizing its value only when it starts showing visible troubles. One such body organ that holds great significance in the regular functioning of the body is the kidneys.
It ensures that all the toxins from the body are eradicated while the red blood cells are formed. Kidneys control the blood pressure of the body while giving you a better way to deal with health issues and bacteria.
Unfortunately, many reasons may cause the abrupt working of the kidney and cause kidney failure. Heres a comprehensive guide that will walk you through this major kidney issue, its types, and its symptoms. Without any delay, lets get started!!
What Are The Main Causes Of Chronic Kidney Disease
Diabetes and high blood pressure, or hypertension, are responsible for two-thirds of chronic kidney disease cases.
Diabetes: Diabetes occurs when your blood sugar remains too high. Over time, unmanaged blood sugar can cause damage to many organs in your body, including the kidneys and heart and blood vessels, nerves, and eyes.
High blood pressure: High blood pressure occurs when your blood pressure against the walls of your blood vessels increases. If uncontrolled or poorly controlled, high blood pressure can be a leading cause of heart attacks, strokes, and chronic kidney disease. Also, chronic kidney disease can cause high blood pressure.
How Long Can I Live After My Kidneys Fail
When your kidneys fail, they cannot get better. Your life expectancy depends on many things, including your age. However, treatment can help people with kidney failure live for many more years:
- Dialysis helps people live for another five to 10 years on average.
- Living kidney donor transplants last 15 to 20 years on average.
If you choose not to get treatment for kidney failure, you can get medical management. This is supportive care and treatment to relieve your symptoms, but it will not keep you alive. There is no way to know how long you will live if you choose medical management. Your doctor will help you stay as healthy as possible.
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Causes Of Kidney Disease:
- Genetic diseases such as polycystic kidney disease
- Autoimmune diseases such as Lupus
- Birth defects and other problems can also cause kidney disease.
You are at greater risk to develop chronic kidney disease if you have of a family history of kidney failure and the following:
Diabetes: Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure. Forty Four percent of people starting dialysis have kidney failure caused by diabetes. Diabetes can damage your kidneys. This damage can happen over many years, without you feeling it. That is why it is so important for people with diabetes to manage their diabetes and get tested for kidney disease. Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can cause kidney disease.
High blood pressure: High blood pressure is the second leading cause of kidney failure. High blood pressure can damage your kidneys. This damage can happen over many years, without you feeling it. That is why it is so important for people with high blood pressure to control their blood pressure and get tested for kidney disease. For most people, a blood pressure of 140/90 or above is considered high. Talk to your health care provider about the right blood pressure for you.
Heart disease: There is a connection between kidney disease and cardiovascular disease. People with heart disease are at higher risk for kidney disease and people with kidney disease are at higher risk for heart disease.
Symptoms Of Kidney Disease
In the early stages of kidney disease, people can have no symptoms. In fact, some people have no symptoms until over 90 per cent of their kidney function has gone. This is unfortunate because early detection of kidney disease and treatment is the key to preventing kidney failure.
Symptoms of kidney disease can include:
- bad breath an
- a metallic taste in the mouth.
These symptoms can be caused by other conditions, but if you are in a high-risk group for kidney disease, speak with your doctor.
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Knowing Which Type You Have
If you have kidney disease or another kidney condition, ask your healthcare professional to clearly explain what type you have, what caused it, how best to look after your kidneys, and what your condition means for you and your lifestyle.
The more knowledge you have, the better equipped you are to manage and potentially minimise the ongoing progression of your condition.
If your kidney function has been reduced for more than three months, its likely you have chronic kidney disease. For more information on the different types of kidney disease and what they can mean for you, please get in contact with us. You can also find out more using our fact sheets on chronic kidney disease and acute kidney injuries.
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How Is Kidney Failure Treated
Kidney failure treatment is determined by the cause and extent of the problem. Treating your chronic medical condition can delay the progression of kidney disease. If your kidneys start losing their function gradually, your doctor may use one or more methods to track your health. By watching you closely, your doctor can help you maintain your kidneys function as long as possible.
Your doctor may gauge your kidney function with:
- Routine blood tests
- Blood pressure checks
Because the kidneys serve such an important purpose, people in kidney failure need treatment to keep them alive. The main treatments for kidney failure are:
- Dialysis: This treatment helps the body filter the blood .
- In hemodialysis, a machine regularly cleans your blood for you. People often receive this kidney failure treatment at a hospital or dialysis clinic, 3 or 4 days each week.
- Peritoneal dialysis cleans the blood in a slightly different way using a dialysis solution and a catheter. Sometimes, people can do their treatment at home.
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Symptoms Of Chronic Kidney Disease
Symptoms usually develop very slowly. As kidney failure progresses and metabolic waste products build up in the blood, symptoms progress.
Mild to moderate loss of kidney function may cause only mild symptoms, such as the need to urinate several times during the night . Nocturia occurs because the kidneys cannot absorb water from the urine to reduce the volume and concentrate it as normally occurs during the night.
As kidney function worsens and more metabolic waste products build up in the blood, people may feel fatigued and generally weak and may become less mentally alert. Some have a loss of appetite and shortness of breath. Anemia also contributes to fatigue and generalized weakness.
The buildup of metabolic waste also causes loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, and an unpleasant taste in the mouth, which may lead to undernutrition and weight loss. People with chronic kidney disease tend to bruise easily or bleed for an unusually long time after cuts or other injuries. Chronic kidney disease also diminishes the bodys ability to fight infections. Gout Gout Gout is a disorder in which deposits of uric acid crystals accumulate in the joints because of high blood levels of uric acid . The accumulations of crystals cause flare-ups … read more may cause acute arthritis with joint pain and swelling.
Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease
Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease is a rare genetic disorder in which fluid-filled sacs form in the kidneys. Symptoms include high blood pressure, excessive thirst, frequent urination and feeding difficulties. In infants, enlarged kidneys can occur during the newborn period and some can be fatal. Additional organs can also be affected by this disorder, particularly the liver.
Some children affected by it can also have distinctive facial features and incomplete development of the lungs. The severity and symptoms of the disorder can vary greatly. Some affected children eventually develop end-stage renal disease sometime during the first decade of life. In some cases, symptoms do not appear until adolescence or even adulthood. ARPKD can lead to chronic kidney disease, which can lead to ESRD.
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About Chronic Kidney Disease
CKD is a condition in which the kidneys are damaged and cannot filter blood as well as they should. Because of this, excess fluid and waste from blood remain in the body and may cause other health problems, such as heart disease and stroke.
15% of US adults are estimated to have chronic kidney disease, that is about 37 million people.
Some other health consequences of CKD include:
- Anemia or low number of red blood cells
- Increased occurrence of infections
- Low calcium levels, high potassium levels, and high phosphorus levels in the blood
- Loss of appetite or eating less
- Depression or lower quality of life
CKD has varying levels of seriousness. It usually gets worse over time though treatment has been shown to slow progression. If left untreated, CKD can progress to kidney failure and early cardiovascular disease. When the kidneys stop working, dialysis or kidney transplant is needed for survival. Kidney failure treated with dialysis or kidney transplant is called end-stage renal disease . Learn more about ESRD.
Not all patients with kidney disease progress to kidney failure. To help prevent CKD and lower the risk for kidney failure, control risk factors for CKD, get tested yearly, make lifestyle changes, take medicine as needed, and see your health care team regularly.
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What Will Happen If My Doctor Suspects Chronic Kidney Disease
Your doctor will want to pinpoint your diagnosis and check your kidney function to help plan your treatment. The doctor will perform these blood and urine tests:
Albumin to creatine ratio urine test: Albumin is a protein that shouldn’t be found in urine and indicates kidney function problems.
Blood test for creatinine: This determines if there is too much creatinine, a waste product, in the blood.
Causes Of Kidney Disease And Their Effect On The Kidneys
Before we begin with the causes, it is essential to understand the types of kidney diseases. Though there are various types of Kidney Diseases, all of them are clubbed into two major types. These are:
Now that we know the types of Kidney Diseases, let us discuss their significant causes.
What Can I Do To Prevent Or Manage High Blood Pressure
Many people with high blood pressure can lower their blood pressure into a healthy range or keep their numbers in a healthy range by making lifestyle changes. Talk with your health care team about
- Getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week
- Not smoking
- Managing stress
In addition to making positive lifestyle changes, some people with high blood pressure need to take medicine to manage their blood pressure. Learn more about medicines for high blood pressure.
Talk with your health care team right away if you think you have high blood pressure or if youve been told you have high blood pressure but do not have it under control.
Mineral And Bone Disorders
Vitamin D deficiency Vitamin D Deficiency and Dependency Inadequate exposure to sunlight predisposes to vitamin D deficiency. Deficiency impairs bone mineralization, causing rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults and possibly contributing read more should be treated with cholecalciferol or ergocalciferol to target serum vitamin D 25-OH level approximately 30-50 ng/mL, as long as there is no hyperphosphatemia or hypercalcemia.
The optimal level of PTH in patients with CKD stages 3a to 5 not on dialysis Overview of Renal Replacement Therapy Renal replacement therapy replaces nonendocrine kidney function in patients with renal failure and is occasionally used for some forms of poisoning. Techniques include continuous hemofiltration read more is not known. However, if PTH levels are progressively rising or are markedly elevated , despite treatment of hyperphosphatemia and vitamin D deficiency, then an active vitamin D analog is recommended. A typical starting dose is calcitriol 0.25 mcg orally 3 times weekly, titrated to maintain PTH between 2 to 9 times the upper limit of normal for the assay. PTH levels are not corrected to normal because doing so risks precipitating adynamic bone disease.