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What Happens If One Kidney Is Not Functioning

What Are The Symptoms Of Solitary Kidney

What is Kidney Failure?

In general, people born with kidney agenesis or kidney dysplasia show no symptoms, lead full healthy lives, and may never discover they have a solitary kidney. Some people discover they have a solitary kidney by chance after having an x-ray, an ultrasound, or surgery for an unrelated condition or injury. A minority of people develop progressive loss of kidney function, and they can develop symptoms associated with chronic kidney disease.

A small percentage of babies born with kidney agenesis have other birth defects, such as an absent anus, an absent or smaller-than-normal bladder, an absent or smaller-than-normal uterus, a smaller-than-normal lung, club feet, or a hole in the heart wall separating the two lower heart chambers.5

Prognosis Of Chronic Kidney Disease

If chronic kidney disease is caused by a disorder that can be corrected and if that disorder has not been present for too long, then kidney function may improve when the causative disorder is successfully treated. Otherwise, kidney function tends to worsen over time. The rate of decline in kidney function depends somewhat on the underlying disorder causing chronic kidney disease and on how well the disorder is controlled. For example, diabetes and high blood pressure, particularly if poorly controlled, cause kidney function to decline more rapidly. Chronic kidney disease is fatal if not treated.

When the decline in kidney function is severe , survival is usually limited to several months in people who are not treated, but people who are treated with dialysis can live much longer. However, even with dialysis, people with end-stage kidney failure die sooner than people their age who do not have end-stage kidney disease. Most die from heart or blood vessel disorders or infections.

Warning Signs Your Kidneys Arent Functioning Properly

Kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in the United States. An estimated 31 million people in the United States have chronic kidney disease . American Kidney Fund

Why Are the Kidneys So Important?

Our kidneys are always at work, and they have numerous life-sustaining responsibilities. The size of a large fist, their primary function is to filter and cycle blood, which it does at a rate of 200 quarts every 24 hours.

Here are some their other bodily functions:

remove waste products from the body

remove drugs from the body

balance the bodys fluids

release hormones that regulate blood pressure

produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones

control the production of red blood cells

They also ensure the bodys proper utilization of minerals by balancing the bodys acid, potassium, and salt levels. Other organs, including the liver, rely on them to produce and transport vital hormones.

Kidney Disorders

Most medical conditions that affect the kidney target the organs structures. These structures include the renal artery and renal veins , its tissues, and the ureter, which moves urine from the kidney to the bladder.

Here, well discuss ten potential warning signs that your kidneys arent working correctly. If you identify with one or more of the following symptoms, please consider seeking the advice of a medical professional.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Failure

In early stages of kidney disease, many people experience few or no symptoms. Its important to note that chronic kidney disease can still cause damage even though you feel fine.

Chronic kidney disease and kidney failure can cause different symptoms for different people. If your kidneys arent working properly, you may notice one or more of the following signs:

  • Fatigue
  • Poor appetite or metallic taste of food

Why Do I Need Dialysis

Partial Kidney Removal Side Effects

If your kidneys are not working properly for example, because you have advanced chronic kidney disease the kidneys may not be able to clean the blood properly.

Waste products and fluid can build up to dangerous levels in your body. Left untreated, this can cause a number of unpleasant symptoms and eventually be fatal.

Dialysis filters out unwanted substances and fluids from the blood before this happens.

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What Is Kidney Failure

Kidney failure means one or both kidneys can no longer function well on their own. Sometimes, kidney failure is temporary and comes on quickly. Other times, it is a chronic condition that can get worse slowly over a long time.

Kidney failure may sound serious, and it is. But treatments such as dialysis and kidney transplant help many people with limited kidney function continue to live fulfilling lives.

Who Will Be On My Health Care Team

Youll have a whole team of trained health care providers to help you live well with kidney failure. The following people may be part of your health care team:

Nephrologist. A doctor who specializes in kidney health and oversees your treatment.

Dialysis nurse. A dialysis nurse will monitor your in-center dialysis and will see you monthly if youre doing home or peritoneal dialysis. The nurse will make sure youre taking your medicines correctly and help you find ways to lessen the side effects of dialysis. If you do home hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, your dialysis nurse will teach you how to set up your treatment, take care of the equipment, and watch for infections or other problems.

Transplant coordinator. A specially trained nurse who will be your point of contact, arrange your appointments, and teach you what to do before and after the transplant.

Renal dietitian. A renal dietitian is trained to help people with kidney failure. Your dietitian will help you make choices about what to eat and drink to help your treatment work better so youll feel better.

Social worker. Dialysis clinics and transplant centers have a social worker who works with people who have ESRD. Your renal social worker can help you find answers to problems such as

  • keeping a job or changing jobs
  • getting help paying for treatments
  • finding services to help with transportation or chores around the house
  • finding counseling services to deal with family problems

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What Is Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic kidney disease causes cysts to develop in the kidneys. PKD is a genetic disorder, meaning you have to have a mutated gene to get the disorder.

PKD isnt the same as simple kidney cysts, which are usually harmless. PKD is a serious type of chronic kidney disease. The cysts can enlarge the kidneys and prevent them from filtering waste out of the blood. PKD can lead to kidney failure.

Why Do People Have A Single Kidney

Biology – Kidney Failure (Kidneys Part 3/3) #29

There are three main reasons why a person may have only one kidney:

  • A person may be born with only one kidney. This condition is called renal agenesis. Another condition, which is called kidney dysplasia, causes a person to be born with two kidneys, but only one of them works. Most people who are born without a kidney lead normal, healthy lives.
  • A person may have had one kidney removed during an operation in order to treat an injury or a disease like cancer.
  • A person may have donated one kidney to a person who needed a kidney transplant.

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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.

What Is The Outlook For Someone With Pkd

People with ADPKD thats managed can lead full lives. About half of people with ADKPD will need dialysis or a kidney transplant due to kidney failure by age 70.

The outlook for children with ARPKD isnt as positive. About one-third of all infants born with ARPKD dont survive. Babies who do survive will likely need medical treatment the rest of their lives.

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How Can I Live Well With Kidney Failure

Doing well with kidney failure is a challenge. You will feel better if you

  • stick to your treatment schedule
  • review your medicines with your health care provider at every visit and take your medicines as prescribed
  • work with a dietitian to develop an eating plan that includes foods you enjoy eating while also helping your health
  • stay activetake a walk or do some other physical activity that you enjoy
  • stay in touch with your friends and family

Treatment with dialysis or transplant will help you feel better and live longer. Your health care team will work with you to create a treatment plan to address any health problems you have. Your treatment will include steps you can take to maintain your quality of life and activity level.

Your eating plan plays an important role. When you have kidney failure, what you eat and drink may help you maintain a healthy balance of salts, minerals, and fluids in your body.

How Is Kidney Disease Treated

How long can a person live with only one kidney?

How kidney disease is treated depends on the particular problem and whatâs causing it:

  • Kidney infections are treated with .
  • Medicines to decrease may help with nephritis and nephrotic syndrome.
  • Medicines can treat high blood pressure or help the kidneys make extra pee if fluid or swelling is causing a kidney problem.
  • A person might need to eat a special diet that limits salt or other things.

Occasionally, if medicines and other treatments donât work, the kidneys can stop working well. They may not clear enough of the bodyâs waste products and excess water. In that case, a person might need dialysis. This process uses an artificial filtering system to do the job of the kidneys when they canât.

Some people who need dialysis on a permanent basis might be candidates for a kidney transplant. This means they get a donated kidney from another person. Someone who gets a transplanted kidney no longer needs dialysis to clean the blood of waste products and remove excess water. The donated, healthy kidney takes over the job.

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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

Fatigue Being Tired All Of The Time

Why this happens:

Healthy kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin , or EPO, that tells your body to make oxygen-carrying red blood cells. As the kidneys fail, they make less EPO. With fewer red blood cells to carry oxygen, your muscles and brain tire very quickly. This is anemia, and it can be treated.

What patients said:

I was constantly exhausted and didnât have any pep or anything.

I would sleep a lot. Iâd come home from work and get right in that bed.

As end-stage renal disease gets worse, it can cause:

  • Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
  • Mental changes. These may include sleepiness, trouble thinking clearly, agitation, psychosis, seizures, and coma.
  • Bleeding problems, such as sudden or heavy bleeding from a very minor injury.
  • Heart problems, such as an irregular heartbeat and increased pressure on the heart.
  • Shortness of breath from fluid buildup in the space between the lungs and the chest wall .

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What Are The Kidneys Where Are They Located

The kidneys play key roles in body function, not only by filtering the blood and getting rid of waste products, but also by balancing the electrolyte levels in the body, controlling blood pressure, and stimulating the production of red blood cells.

The kidneys are located in the abdomen toward the back, normally one on each side of the spine. They get their blood supply through the renal arteries directly from the aorta and send blood back to the heart via the renal veins to the vena cava.

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What Happens When Your Kidneys Fail

Living with one kidney

The slow loss of kidney function over a few months or years is called chronic kidney disease . Chronic kidney disease can occur when a condition damages your kidneys and keeps them from doing their job to keep you healthy. When your kidneys fail, dangerous levels of fluids and waste can build up in your body and make you feel sick. Kidney failure occurs when you have less than 15% of your kidney function. When your kidneys fail you may require dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive.

Chronic kidney disease may be caused by:

  • High blood pressure and diabetes the most common causes of kidney disease
  • Inflammation or infections
  • Inherited genetic conditions such as polycystic disease
  • Long-term blockage in the urinary system

Early detection and treatment can help prevent chronic kidney disease from getting worse.

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What Is It Like To Live With One Kidney Instead Of Two

Your kidneys filter out waste and extra fluid from your blood so it can be excreted from your body in your urine.

One kidney can filter enough blood to keep your body functioning normally. This is why you can survive and be healthy with only one kidney.

The recommendations for healthy living if you have only one kidney are basically the same for people with two kidneys. They include:

Your kidneys play a role in maintaining fluid balance in your body, keeping protein in your blood, and controlling your blood pressure.

If your kidneys stop working, you may:

  • lose protein in your urine
  • retain fluid

Most people with a single kidney live a normal life without developing any long- or short-term problems.

However, the risk of developing mild high blood pressure, fluid retention, and proteinuria is slightly higher if you have one kidney instead of two. This is because a second kidney can compensate and make up for a kidney that has lost some function.

Since it has no backup, the loss of function of a single kidney could lead to proteinuria, fluid retention, or high blood pressure earlier than if you had two kidneys.

What Is Chronic Kidney Disease

Most kidney problems, however, happen slowly over a long period of time. You may have silent kidney disease for years. Gradual loss of kidney function is called chronic kidney disease or chronic renal insufficiency. Those with CKD often go on to permanent kidney failure. The damage that results from chronic kidney disease cannot be reversed.

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Why Does This Happen

Normal kidneys remove waste products from the body, and make sure the body has the right balance of water and salts. They also control blood pressure, help keep bones and teeth strong and healthy, and control the production of red blood cells. If there are no kidneys, the body cannot do this work.

While a baby is growing in the uterus , he or she floats in amniotic fluid. This protects the baby from getting hurt from the outside and helps the lungs mature so that he or she is ready to breathe after birth. The baby swallows or breathes in the amniotic fluid.

Normally, the kidneys develop and start making urine. The baby passes the urine out, adding to the amount of amniotic fluid. If the baby does not have kidneys, he or she cannot produce urine, and this leads to not enough amniotic fluid this is called oligohydramnios. This can stop the lungs fully developing.

Living With One Kidney: Diet

What will happen if my one kidney fails?

If you have one kidney your doctor may recommend the following changes in your diet:

  • Limit Salt and Protein Intake Salt and protein can affect your blood pressure and how hard your kidneys must work to filter waste and excess fluid.
  • Stay Hydrated Drinking plenty of water each day will promote healthy kidney function.

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Does Kidney Failure Cause Pain

Kidney failure in itself does not cause pain. However, the consequences of kidney failure may cause pain and discomfort in different parts of the body.

Amyloid proteins

Normal functioning kidneys filter amyloid from the bloodstream. In kidney failure amyloid proteins in the blood rise, and can separate and clump together forming amyloid deposits into a variety of tissue and organs, including joints and tendons. This can result in symptoms of:

Underlying chronic disease pain

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.

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