How To Keep Kidneys Healthy
You can optimize your kidney health by keeping your body hydrated, active when possible, and following a diet that includes:
- Plenty of antioxidants in foods like blueberries and red grapes
- Lower levels of sodium
- Lower levels of potassium
- Omega-3 rich foods like sea bass
A high-quality supplements can boost kidney health, too. Revives Kidney Support capsules contain a range of ingredients, which may support blood flow and filtration, and protect the kidneys daily. Taking a supplement with water will also remind you to stay hydrated! 14 glasses of water daily can help your body and kidneys stay healthy.
Kidney Pain Vs Back Pain
It’s easy to confuse kidney pain for just back pain. How do you know the difference?
Location. It could be your kidney and not your back if you feel it higher on your back. Back problems usually affect your lower back.
Kidney pain is felt higher and deeper in your body than back pain. You may feel it in the upper half of your back, not the lower part. Unlike back discomfort, it’s felt on one or both sides, usually under your rib cage.
It’s often constant. It probably won’t go away when you shift your body. With your back, it might lessen when you adjust your position.
Signs that it’s your back
- Shoots down one leg
- Is more likely to be stabbing than dull and constant
- Gets worse or flares up when you do certain activities, like lifting a box or bending over
- When you rest or lie down, back pain may ease up
- Might also be muscle aches
Other symptoms to watch for
Depending on the cause of the pain, you could have other symptoms too. If you have these signs, contact your doctor. You could have a serious kidney problem:
- Body aches
Also, if you recently had a urinary tract infection , call your doctor. If you have blood in your urine, or if your pain is sudden and unbearable even without signs of blood in your pee, get medical care right away.
Feeling Tired Or Sluggish During The Day
Everyone has a day when they feel tired maybe you didnt get enough sleep, or ate the wrong foods, or some other temporary factors are at play. But sometimes, fatigue is caused by lack of a hormone called erythropoietin, or EPO. The main function of EPO is to stimulate the production of red blood cells, and red blood cells carry energizing oxygen to cells throughout your body.
Stressed kidneys do not produce enough EPO, thereby reducing the number of red blood cells and making you feel weak and tired out.
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Signs You May Have Kidney Disease
More than 37 million American adults are living with kidney disease and most dont know it. There are a number of physical signs of kidney disease, but sometimes people attribute them to other conditions. Also, those with kidney disease tend not to experience symptoms until the very late stages, when the kidneys are failing or when there are large amounts of protein in the urine. This is one of the reasons why only 10% of people with chronic kidney disease know that they have it, says Dr. Joseph Vassalotti, Chief Medical Officer at the National Kidney Foundation.
While the only way to know for sure if you have kidney disease is to get tested, Dr. Vassalotti shares 10 possible signs you may have kidney disease. If youre at risk for kidney disease due to high blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of kidney failure or if youre older than age 60, its important to get tested annually for kidney disease. Be sure to mention any symptoms youre experiencing to your healthcare practitioner.
Why Wait Until Your Kidneys Are Diseased
While the study was conducted on people with kidney disease, we could safely extrapolate the recommendations to those who want to avoid kidney disease and achieve optimal kidney function now, especially as we age.
In fact, additional research points to the actuality of physiological changes in the kidneys as we age. The research notes that a progressive reduction of the glomerular filtration rate and renal blood flow are observed in conjunction with aging. The reason for these phenomena is a decrease in the plasma flow in the glomerulus, a bundle of capillaries that partially form the renal corpuscle.2
In addition, the aging kidneys experience other structural changes, such as a loss of renal mass, and decreased responsiveness to stimuli that constrict or dilate blood vessels. The study concludes with a notable summation:
age-related changes in cardiovascular hemodynamics, such as reduced cardiac output and systemic hypertension, are likely to play a role in reducing renal perfusion and filtration. Finally, it is hypothesized that increases in cellular oxidative stress that accompany aging result in endothelial cell dysfunction and changes in vasoactive mediators resulting in increased atherosclerosis, hypertension and glomerulosclerosis.2
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What Does It Mean If Your Kidneys Are Hurting
Common causes of kidney pain are mainly urinary tract infections, kidney infections, and kidney stones. However, there are many other causes of kidney pain, including penetrating and blunt trauma that can result in a lacerated kidney.If a woman is pregnant and has kidney pain, she should contact her doctor.
Infections Along The Urinary Tract
While most of these infections are simply referred to as a UTI, the location of the infection makes a difference. Lower urinary tract infections are very common and easy to treat, but as the infection travels upwards, it gets more difficult and more dangerous.
- Lower Urinary Tract Infection
A lower urinary tract infection is what we commonly refer to as a UTI. It occurs when bacteria enters the urethra and causes a frequent urge to use the bathroom, burning sensations, dark urine, bladder discomfort, and kidney pain.2
- Bladder Infection
Bladder infections occur when the lower UTI works its way into the bladder. Youll experience similar symptoms, oftentimes persisting for longer periods of time and with an increase in frequency or intensity.
- Kidney Infection
A kidney infection, also known as pyelonephritis, occurs when excess bacteria has built up in the urinary tract and reached the kidneys.1 It is considered an upper urinary tract infection and is much more serious than lower urinary tract infections.
Once the infection spreads to your kidneys, its more dangerous. Kidney infections can be very serious and may require hospitalization. If you think you have a kidney infection, dont hesitate to schedule an appointment with your urologists for a proper diagnosis. In addition to a urine culture, your doctor will need to order imaging tests, blood tests, or a combination of both to confirm the location of the infection.
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Causes Of Kidney Infection
A kidney infection usually happens when bacteria, often a type called E. coli, get into the tube that carries urine out of your body .
The bacteria travel up to your bladder, causing cystitis, and then up into your kidneys.
E. coli bacteria normally live in your bowel, where they cause no harm.
They can be transferred from your bottom to your genitals during sex or if you’re not careful when wiping your bottom after going to the loo.
A kidney infection can sometimes develop without a bladder infection. For example, if you have a problem with your kidney, such as kidney stones, or if you have diabetes or a weakened immune system.
Kidney Pain: Causes Symptoms And Treatments
- Medically reviewed by
Kidney pain can have many causes. It may be a sign of an infection, injury or another health problem, such as kidney stones. Because of where your kidneys are in your body, kidney pain is also often confused with back pain. Talk to your doctor to find out what is causing your kidney pain and to find the right treatment.
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What Are Symptoms Of Kidney Pain
Symptoms of kidney pain occur in the area of the kidneys, on the sides or middle to upper back, on one or both sides, and feels like:
- A constant, dull ache in the sides, back, or belly
- Pain in the side
- Pain may come in waves
- Pain may radiate to the belly or groin area
Depending on the cause of the kidney pain, symptoms that may accompany it include:
Chronic Low Back Pain Of No Specific Origin
Low back pain is defined as pain, tightness, and stiffness between the lower end of the rib cage and the buttocks. Chronic means the pain has lasted for twelve weeks or longer, and no specific origin means the pain cannot be traced to any specific cause, incident, or injury.
Most susceptible are individuals who perform heavy physical work, especially when there is ongoing anxiety, depression, and emotional stress at the same time. The longer the stress and back pain continue, the more difficult it is to ease the symptoms and return the patient to normal functioning.
Treatment involves nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and sometimes opioid medications for pain, though both have risks when used long term. Antidepressants may also be tried, along with psychological counseling.
Corticosteroid injections for the back are effective for some patients, and fusion surgery is sometimes attempted. Lifestyle changes in the form of improved diet, exercise, and stress management are very helpful in most cases.
Top Symptoms: lower back pain, unintentional weight loss, back pain that shoots to the butt, fever, involuntary defecation
Symptoms that always occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin: lower back pain
Symptoms that never occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin: thigh numbness, buttocks numbness, lower back pain from an injury
Urgency: Primary care doctor
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Causes Of Kidney Infections
A kidney infection happens when bacteria infects your kidneys. The bacteria are usually a type called E. coli, which live in your bowel.
The bacteria get in through the opening of the urethra and move upwards through your urinary tract, first infecting your bladder and then your kidneys.
It’s thought the bacteria can get into your urinary tract by accidentally spreading from your anus to your urethra. This can happen if you wipe your bottom after going to the toilet and the soiled toilet paper comes into contact with your genitals. It can also happen during sex.
In rare cases, a kidney infection can develop if bacteria or fungi infect the skin and the infection spreads through your bloodstream into your kidney. However, this type of infection usually only occurs in people with weakened immune systems.
How Do You Know If You Have Kidney Pain
Kidney pain, or renal pain, is usually felt in your back . It can spread to other areas, like the sides, upper abdomen or groin. If you have a kidney stone, you usually feel the pain in your back, side, lower belly or groin.
Back pain due to muscle problems is usually in your lower back. Pain due to kidney problems is usually deeper and higher in your back, under your ribs.
Signs that it is a kidney problem can also include fever, vomiting, pain in your sides or painful urination.
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Get Care From An Expert
Kidney stonesare formed when there are more of certain chemicals in the urine than fluid to dilute forming a crystal. That crystal tries tomake its way out of your system through the urinary tract. Sadly, the urethrais smaller than the stone, so its a painful process. Symptoms of kidney stones can include intense pain inthe lower abdomen or back, blood in your urine, or a blockage that stops youfrom being able to urinate. If the pain you are feeling resemblesone of the stories above, get to your healthcare provider fast. They can helpwith some of the pain and put a treatment plan together.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
People will often assume that sudden flank pain is caused by a pulled muscle or overexertion, and, in many cases, it will be.
If the pain persists, worsens, or is accompanied by urinary symptoms or signs of infections, you should see your healthcare provider as soon as possible. This is especially true if you are experiencing high fever, chills, vomiting, or the inability to urinate.
Even if a kidney infection is mild, it can sometimes progress and lead to bacteremia if left untreated. This is a condition in which a local bacterial infection âspills overâ over into the bloodstream, causing systemic and potentially life-threatening symptoms, including irregular body temperatures, disruptions in breathing, a severe drop in blood pressure, and shock.
Given that acute pyelonephritis can strike in as little as two days, a rapid response is essential.
The same applies if you experience a dull but persistent pain alongside uncommon symptoms such as painful urination, chronic fatigue, or unexplained weight loss. None of these should be considered normal, and you shouldnât wait until there is visible blood in urine to seek care.
If you are pregnant, don’t assume that persistent back pain is pregnancy-related. Be cognizant if there is a dull ache across your lower back or along the sides of your back between the ribs and hips. If accompanied by symptoms of infection or changes in urination, call your healthcare provider immediately.
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What Causes Kidney Atrophy
- Blocked kidney artery blocks the main arteries that supply blood to the kidneys, which can be due to hardening of the arteries with fatty deposits or blood clots
- Blocked urinary tract blocks the normal flow of urine which leads to pressure on the kidneys and damages the nephrons
- Kidney stones an untreated kidney stone can cause a kidney blockage
- Long-lasting kidney infections such as pyelonephritis, polycystic kidney disease, and other chronic kidney diseases that can damage nephrons
How Will I Know If I Have Protein In My Urine
The only way to know if you have protein in your urine is to have a urine test. The test will measure the levels of protein in your urine.
The name of the urine test that measures the level of albumin in your urine is called the urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio . A UACR compares the level of albumin to the level of creatinine . A normal UACR is less than 30mg/g. If your UACR is 30 mg/g or higher, it can be a sign of kidney disease, and you should ask your doctor if you should have other tests of kidney disease.
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When To See Your Urologist
While it would be nice to avoid the doctors office for kidney pain, its not always possible. Sometimes, the pain is not treatable using an at-home remedy and youll need to see your doctor or urologist to get relief. It should also be noted that just because you experience pain relief, doesnt mean that your infection is gone. To make sure that the infection doesnt spread to other parts of your body and cause further complications, you need to get a proper diagnosis and treat the problem. If you have a high fever, blood in your urine, vomiting, or chills, see your doctor immediately.1 If you experience back, groin, or abdominal pain, see your doctor.3 always better to seek medical treatment early to treat any serious infections and reduce the risks of complications or severe problems.
If you have kidney stones, but the pain is persistent and youre unable to pass them on your own, your urologist will recommend additional treatments. There are a number of different things that can be done to reduce the size of kidney stones and make them easier to pass naturally. Call your doctor if the pain persists and youre unable to pass kidney stones on your own.
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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Is It Kidney Pain Or Back Pain
Because of where your kidneys are in your body, it is easy to confuse kidney pain and back pain. How can you tell the difference?
- Can happen on one or both sides
- Likely will not go away when you shift your body or rest
- Is usually felt in your lower back
- May shoot down one leg
- Feels more like a stabbing pain
- Gets worse when you do certain activities, like bending over or lifting something heavy
- May ease when you shift your body or rest
Causes Of Kidney Pain
Kidney pain has many possible causes. These organs are connected to others like your bladder and ureters, where you store and get rid of urine.
Kidney stones. Intense, sudden, stabbing pain may be a kidney stone. These are mineral deposits that can grow large enough to block a ureter, a tube that connects your kidney and bladder. If that happens, you’ll feel sharp pain or cramps in your back or side. It can also spread out to your groin. As you try to pee out the stone, you might feel waves of pain.
Kidney infection. Also called pyelonephritis, this infection could cause discomfort in one or both kidneys. You may feel pain in your back, in your side or both sides under your ribs, or in your groin. You’ll also have a fever. Urinary tract infections also cause discomfort in this organ.
Kidney swelling. This condition, called hydronephrosis, can happen if your kidneys are blocked. Your urine can’t drain the way it should and builds up in your kidneys. This can happen in one or both kidneys and sometimes it causes pain.
Kidney cysts. You may not feel a simple kidney cyst until it grows larger. Once it gets big, you might feel a dull pain in your side or back, or feel pain in the upper part of your belly.
Polycystic kidney disease. This genetic disease causes many cysts to grow in your kidneys. They may cause you to feel a pain in your back or side.
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