The Most Common Causes Of Kidney Disease
Apr 18, 2018|By Minesh Rajpal, MD
Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two most common causes of kidney disease. For this reason, regular check-ups evaluating kidney function and health are important for patients with these diseases.
Other causes of kidney disease include:
- Acute renal failure
- Inherited kidney disease
Kidney disease is diagnosed through blood and urine tests, a complete physical examination, and sometimes a kidney biopsy. Common symptoms include:
- Bad taste in the mouth
What Tests Do Doctors Use To Diagnose And Monitor Kidney Disease
To check for kidney disease, health care providers use
- a blood test that checks how well your kidneys are filtering your blood, called GFR. GFR stands for glomerular filtration rate.
- a urine test to check for albumin. Albumin is a protein that can pass into the urine when the kidneys are damaged.
If you have kidney disease, your health care provider will use the same two tests to help monitor your kidney disease and make sure your treatment plan is working.
Factors That Increase Your Risk Of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones often have no single cause, and several factors may increase your risk for getting them. Some of these factors are listed below. They include:
Lack of water
You need to make enough pee to dilute the things that can turn into stones. If you donât drink enough or sweat too much, your pee may look dark. It should be pale yellow or clear.
If youâve had a stone before, you should make about 8 cups of urine a day. So aim to down about 10 cups of water daily, since you lose some fluids through sweat and breathing. Swap a glass of water for a citrus drink. The citrate in lemonade or orange juice can block stones from forming.
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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.
Should I Consider My Familial History For A Renal Disease
While diabetes and hypertension are risk factors that can modify, chronic kidney disease does follow a familial pattern of occurrence which means if there are people in your family who have the disease, the chances of disease development increase significantly. Because CKD tends to run in families, it is highly important to screen for any kidney damage or decreased renal function in people who are at high risk because of familial predisposition towards the disease.
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% Of Americans Support Organ Donation While Only 54% Are Registered Donors
One organ donor can help save 8 lives by donating eyes, kidneys, lungs, intestines, liver, tissue, pancreas, and heart. In fact, one tissue donor can help 75 people by donating heart valves and vessels, skin, cartilage, bone, tendons, sclera, connective tissue, and corneas.
Unfortunately, kidney donation statistics show that every day about 18 people from the transplantation waiting list die while waiting for the available organ.
Symptoms Of Kidney Disease
Kidney disease is called a silent disease as there are often no warning signs. People may lose up to 90 per cent of their kidney function before getting any symptoms. The first signs of kidney disease may be general and can include:
- high blood pressure
- changes in the amount and number of times urine is passed
- changes in the appearance of urine
- blood in the urine
- puffiness of the legs and ankles
- pain in the kidney area
- have a family history of kidney failure
- have a history of acute kidney injury
- are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin.
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Learn More About Glomerular Filtration Rate
GFRglomerular filtration rate is the best test to measure your level of kidney function and determine your stage of kidney disease. Your doctor can calculate it from the results of your blood creatinine test, your age, race, gender and other factors.
The earlier kidney disease is detected, the better the chance of slowing or stopping its progression.
Medication To Reduce Cholesterol
Studies have shown that people with CKD have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes. This is because some of the risk factors for CKD are the same as those for heart attacks and strokes, including high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol in the blood .
Statins are a type of medication used to lower cholesterol levels. Cholesterol causes narrowing of the arteries that can lead to a blockage of the blood supply to the heart or the brain . Statins work by blocking the effects of an enzyme in your liver , which is used to make cholesterol.
Statins sometimes have mild side effects, including:
- abdominal pain
Occasionally, statins can cause muscle pain, weakness and tenderness. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your GP. You may need to have a blood test or change your treatment.
If you have kidney disease, you may be asked to reduce your daily fluid and salt intake. You may develop a build-up of fluid as your kidneys will not be able to get rid of fluid as well as they did before.
If you are asked to reduce the amount of fluid you drink, you must also take into account fluid in foods, such as soup and yoghurt. Your GP or dietitian can advise you about this.
The excess fluid that occurs as a result of kidney disease often builds up in your ankles or around your lungs. You may also be given diuretics , such as furosemide, which will help get rid of the excess fluid from your body.
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Type 1 Or Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is the number one cause of kidney failure in the US, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease , and about one third of all adults with diabetes also have kidney disease. “When you have too much glucose in your blood, over time it damages both the blood vessels and filters in your kidneys,” explains Dr. Kovach. Eventually, your kidneys can become so damaged that they can no longer do the job they should.
What to do: if you have diabetes, you should have your urine checked at least once a year, to look for protein, says Dr. Kovach. You should also check your blood pressure regularly to make sure it’s not elevated, as this also raises your chances to develop kidney disease. Be on the lookout for signs that your body is holding onto extra fluid like weight gain, ankle swelling, and needing to use the bathroom more at night.
But it’s also important to make sure that you have tight control of your diabetes. “Diabetes is one of the most modifiable risk factors,” stresses David Goldfarb, MD, Clinical Chief of Nephrology at NYU Langone Health.
What Is Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease includes conditions that damage your kidneys and decrease their ability to keep you healthy by doing the jobs listed. If kidney disease gets worse, wastes can build to high levels in your blood and make you feel sick. You may develop complications like high blood pressure, anemia , weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage. Also, kidney disease increases your risk of having heart and blood vessel disease. These problems may happen slowly over a long period of time. Chronic kidney disease may be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders. Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse. When kidney disease progresses, it may eventually lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.
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What Your Kidneys Do
- Keep a balance of water and minerals in your blood
- Remove waste from your blood after digestion, muscle activity, and exposure to chemicals or medications
- Make renin, which your body uses to help manage your blood pressure
- Make a chemical called erythropoietin, which prompts your body to make red blood cells
- Make an active form of vitamin D, needed for bone health and other things
What Is Kidney Disease
Kidney disease can affect your bodyâs ability to clean your blood, filter extra water out of your blood, and help control your blood pressure. It can also affect red blood cell production and vitamin D metabolism needed for bone health.
When your kidneys are damaged, waste products and fluid can build up in your body. That can cause swelling in your ankles, nausea, weakness, poor sleep, and shortness of breath. Without treatment, the damage can get worse and your kidneys may eventually stop working. Thatâs serious, and it can be life-threatening.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Ras
In many cases, RAS has no symptoms until it becomes severe.
The signs of RAS are usually either high blood pressure or decreased kidney function, or both, but RAS is often overlooked as a cause of high blood pressure. RAS should be considered as a cause of high blood pressure in people who
- are older than age 50 when they develop high blood pressure or have a marked increase in blood pressure
- have no family history of high blood pressure
- cannot be successfully treated with at least three or more different types of blood pressure medications
Symptoms of a significant decrease in kidney function include
- increase or decrease in urination
- edemaswelling, usually in the legs, feet, or ankles and less often in the hands or face
- drowsiness or tiredness
- muscle cramps
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Renal failure statistics show that chronic itching impacts 40% of ESRD patients. It can be moderate or severe in some cases.
In a recent study, a topical cream containing cannabinoids was given to patients receiving hemodialysis and experiencing uremic pruritus with a success rate of 38.1%. Larger scale studies are needed for a definitive conclusion concerning these findings.
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Keeping Your Kidneys Healthy
There are a number of things you can do to keep your kidneys healthy, including:
- If you have diabetes, make sure that your blood sugar control is excellent. Follow your doctors advice about insulin injections, medicines, diet, physical activity and monitoring your blood sugar.
- Control high blood pressure. Have your blood pressure checked regularly. Medications used to lower blood pressure , such as ACE inhibitors or angiotensin blockers, can slow the development of kidney disease.
- If you have one of the risk factors for kidney disease, have a kidney health check at least every two years .
- Treat urinary tract infections immediately.
- Control blood cholesterol levels with diet and medications if necessary.
- Drink plenty of water and choose foods that are low in sugar, fat and salt, but high in fibre. Stick to moderate serving sizes.
- Do not smoke.
- Drink alcohol in moderation only.
- Stay at a healthy weight for your height and age.
- Try to exercise moderately for at least 30 minutes a day.
According To Chronic Kidney Disease Statistics Worldwide Kidney Transplantation Is Most Affordable In India
India has the lowest transplantation prices due to its economic state and a large number of medical centers. For example, kidney transplantation in India costs from $13,000-$14,000, whereas in the US, kidney transplantation is the 8th most expensive procedure that costs $442,500.
Besides India, three other countries have low kidney transplantation prices Turkey , South Korea , and Spain .
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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
How Is Kidney Function Measured
The main indicator of kidney function is your blood level of creatinine, a waste product of the body produced by muscles and excreted by the kidneys. If kidney function is reduced, creatinine accumulates in the blood leading to an elevated level when a blood test is checked.
Kidney function is best measured by an indicator called GFR which measures the blood filtration rate by kidneys. This indicator allows doctors to determine if the kidney function is normal, and if not, to what level the reduced kidney function has deteriorated. In everyday practice, GFR can easily be estimated , from measurement of the blood creatinine level, and taking into account, age, ethnicity and gender.
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Eating Diet And Nutrition
Limiting intake of fats, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar can help prevent atherosclerosis, which can lead to RAS. Most sodium in the diet comes from salt. A healthy diet that prevents people from becoming overweight or obese can also help prevent atherosclerosis. People with RAS that has caused decreased kidney function should limit their intake of protein, cholesterol, sodium, and potassium to slow the progression of kidney failure. More information about nutrition for CKD is provided in the NIDDK health topics, Eating Right for Chronic Kidney Disease and Nutrition for Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease in Adults. People should talk with their health care provider about what diet is right for them.
What You Can Do To Prevent Kidney Disease With Pkd
Lifestyle changes can help prevent PKDand CKDfrom progressing. Here are some things you can do:
- Drink plain water.
- Get 78 hours of sleep per night.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Keep blood pressure levels under control.
- Treat bladder or kidney infections as soon as possible.
Keep in mind that not everyone with PKD will develop kidney failure, but certain people are at an increased risk:
- People with high blood pressure
- People with protein or blood in their urine
- Women with high blood pressure who have had more than 3 pregnancies
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The highest percentage of candidates waiting for an available organ was noted among people between 5064 years , followed by 26,824 candidates over 65 years old. 24,924 candidates were between 3549, and 8,982 candidates aged between 18 and 34.
The smallest percentage was noted among candidates under one year , 610 years , and 15 years .
Kidney Failure Definition And Facts
- Kidneys are the organs that filter waste products from the blood. They are also involved in regulating blood pressure, electrolyte balance, and red blood cell production in the body.
- Symptoms of kidney failure are due to the build-up of waste products and excess fluid in the body that may cause weakness, shortness of breath, lethargy, swelling, and confusion. Inability to remove potassium from the bloodstream may lead to abnormal heart rhythms and sudden death. Initially kidney failure may cause no symptoms.
- There are numerous causes of kidney failure, and treatment of the underlying disease may be the first step in correcting the kidney abnormality.
- Some causes of kidney failure are treatable and the kidney function may return to normal. Unfortunately, kidney failure may be progressive in other situations and may be irreversible.
- The diagnosis of kidney failure usually is made by blood tests measuring BUN, creatinine, and glomerular filtration rate .
- Treatment of the underlying cause of kidney failure may return kidney function to normal. Lifelong efforts to control blood pressure and diabetes may be the best way to prevent chronic kidney disease and its progression to kidney failure. As we age, kidney function gradually decreases over time.
- If the kidneys fail completely, the only treatment options available may be dialysis or transplant.
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Inherited And Congenital Kidney Diseases
Some kidney diseases result from hereditary factors. Polycystic kidney disease , for example, is a genetic disorder in which many cysts grow in the kidneys. PKD cysts can slowly replace much of the mass of the kidneys, reducing kidney function and leading to kidney failure.
Some kidney problems may show up when a child is still developing in the womb. Examples include autosomal recessive PKD, a rare form of PKD, and other developmental problems that interfere with the normal formation of the nephrons. The signs of kidney disease in children vary. A child may grow unusually slowly, may vomit often, or may have back or side pain. Some kidney diseases may be silent for months or even years.
If your child has a kidney disease, your childs doctor should find it during a regular checkup. Be sure your child sees a doctor regularly. The first sign of a kidney problem may be high blood pressure, a low number of red blood cells , or blood or protein in the childs urine.
If the doctor finds any of these problems, further tests may be necessary, including additional blood and urine tests or radiology studies. In some cases, the doctor may need to perform a biopsy removing a tiny piece of the kidney to examine under a microscope.