The Incidence Of Kidney Disease Is Rising Screen Your Kidney Function With These Simple Blood And Urine Test
Written by Shraddha Rupavate | Updated : August 27, 2014 11:10 AM IST
Kidney problems do not develop overnight. Your kidney function naturally starts declining after you cross your 30s. And whether you will develop a kidney problem later in life is largely dependent on your lifestyle habits and diet. In most cases, kidney problems are caused as a result of a primary condition like diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol levels. Because the symptoms of kidney diseases are not evident unless the kidneys are deteriorated to a great extent , you should regularly screen your kidney function . Here are some kidney function tests that can determine whether you are at a risk of kidney disease.
1. Blood pressure: Your kidneys perform the function of filtering blood under pressure to eliminate waste products through the urine. If your blood pressure is higher than normal it will increase the load on your kidneys and may lead to kidney disease. Alternatively, a person is suffering from kidney disease is also likely to have high blood pressure. Read more about the medication for high blood pressure.
2. Blood creatinine test: Creatinine is a waste product that is produced by your muscles. It enters the bloodstream and is filtered by the kidneys to get excreted through the urine. A blood creatinine test will measure the amount of creatinine in your blood. A higher level may indicate that the kidneys are not functioning properly.
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
What Are The Complications Of Kidney Failure
Your kidneys do many jobs to keep you healthy. Cleaning your blood is only one of their jobs. They also control chemicals and fluids in your body, help control your blood pressure and help make red blood cells. Dialysis can do only some, not all, of the jobs that healthy kidneys do. Therefore, even when you are being treated for kidney failure, you may have some problems that come from having kidneys that donât work well. Learn more about the complications of kidney failure.
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Medications For High Blood Pressure
One of the main ways to reduce the progression of kidney damage is to manage high blood pressure. Good control of blood pressure is vital to protect the kidneys.
People with CKD should aim to get their blood pressure down to below 140/90mmHg but if you also have diabetes you should aim to get it down to below 130/80mmHg.
There are many types of blood pressure drugs. Medicines called angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors are used to control high blood pressure in people with CKD.
As well as reducing blood pressure around the body and reducing the strain on blood vessels, ACE inhibitors give additional protection to the kidney.
ACE inhibitors include:
Side effects of ACE inhibitors include:
- a persistent, dry cough
- tiredness or weakness
Most of these side effects should pass within a few days, although some people continue to have a dry cough.
If the side effects of ACE inhibitors are particularly troublesome, you can be given an alternative medication called an angiotensin-II receptor blocker . This group of medicines includes:
The side effects of ARBs are uncommon, but can include dizziness.
Will Kidney Failure Affect My Sex Life
Kidney failure will affect your emotions, nerves, hormones, and energy levels, all of which may change your sexual relationships. Taking good care of yourself by managing your kidney disease and controlling your blood pressure and blood glucose levels can help prevent some sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction. Getting counseling may help with some emotional problems, such as anxiety and depression, which can get in the way of having satisfying sex.
You may feel shy asking questions about your sex life, but your health care team has heard the same questions from other people. Your provider is trained to help you address concerns about your sex life.
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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.
What Happens If My Kidneys Fail Completely
Complete and irreversible kidney failure is sometimes called end-stage renal disease, or ESRD. If your kidneys stop working completely, your body fills with extra water and waste products. This condition is called uremia. Your hands or feet may swell. You will feel tired and weak because your body needs clean blood to function properly.
Untreated uremia may lead to seizures or coma and will ultimately result in death. If your kidneys stop working completely, you will need to undergo dialysis or kidney transplant.
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Kidney Failure And Alcohol
If you have kidney failure and drink alcohol, your kidneys will be forced to work harder than they already are.
Alcohol doesnt metabolize out of your system, so youll feel its effects until you receive dialysis to filter it out of your blood.
Beer and wine contain large amounts of phosphorous. It can cause severe heart issues and even death if your kidneys are unable to filter it out. However, most hard liquor doesnt carry the same risk.
If you have kidney failure or late-stage kidney disease, your doctor may recommend you limit how often you drink alcohol. For some people, completely eliminating alcohol from the diet may be best.
Drinking alcohol with kidney failure can hurt the normal function of other organs. Over time, long-term, heavy alcohol use can lead to liver disease.
Swollen Or Puffy Face
Why this happens:
Failing kidneys don’t remove extra fluid, which builds up in your body causing swelling in the face.
What patients said:
My sister, her hair started to fall out, she was losing weight, but her face was really puffy, you know, and everything like that, before she found out what was going on with her.
My checks were always puffy and tight. Sometimes they would even hurt.
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Blood And Urine Tests
If your doctor thinks you might have chronic kidney failure, they will order blood and urine tests.
Blood tests for kidney function measure the levels of electrolytes and waste in your blood. They measure waste products such as creatinine and blood urea. Creatinine is a byproduct of muscle metabolism. Blood urea is leftover when your body breaks down proteins. When your kidneys are working properly, they excrete both substances.
Urine tests will be performed to check for abnormalities. For example, protein is normally only present in trace amounts in your urine. An elevated protein level might indicate kidney problems months or even years before other symptoms appear. Your urine sediment and cells found in your urine will also be examined in a laboratory.
About Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease is a long-term condition where the kidneys do not work effectively.
CKD does not usually cause symptoms until it reaches an advanced stage. It is usually detected at earlier stages by blood and urine tests. Main symptoms of advanced kidney disease include:
- swollen ankles, feet or hands
- shortness of breath
Read more about the symptoms of chronic kidney disease
Chronic kidney disease is most frequently diagnosed through blood and urine tests.
If you are at a high risk of developing CKD, you may be screened annually. Screening may be recommended if you have:
Read more about diagnosing chronic kidney disease
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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.
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.
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Stages Of Renal Failure In Dogs
The elevation of blood waste product and abnormalities in urine, including the presence of protein, can indicate the severity of chronic kidney disease.
According to the International Renal Interest Society , stages of chronic renal disease are numbered 1 through 4 . The higher the stage number, the more symptoms youll often see in your pet. Its best if some treatments are started when the pet is at a specific stage of chronic kidney disease.
Median survival time for dogs in Stage 1 is more than 400 days, while Stage 2 ranged from 200 to 400 days and Stage 3 ranged from 110 to 200 days.
End-Stage Renal Disease in Dogs
Chronic kidney disease is progressive, and there is no cure. By the time an animal shows signs of the disease, damage is severe. The nephrons that remain are working hard to compensate for the nephrons lost to damage or age. In time, these remaining nephrons will also fail.
As the disease progresses prognosis worsens and survival time decreases with each stage. Median survival time for Stage 4 kidney disease ranges from 14 to 80 days, according to IRIS.
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.
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How Is Kidney Disease Treated
How kidney disease is treated depends on the particular problem and what’s 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 don’t work, the kidneys can stop working well. They may not clear enough of the body’s 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 can’t.
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.
How Do I Adjust To Dialysis
Starting dialysis often means creating a new normal for yourself and your family. Thereâs a lot to think about, from choosing a treatment option, to finding new ways to enjoy your favorite activities, to managing a new diet. The FIRST30 program is all about helping you through this period of adjustment. Here, youâll find videos featuring people like you, who once were new to dialysis, as well as a checklist of important questions to ask your health care team.
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You Have Blood In Your Urine
Healthy kidneys are responsible for keeping the blood cells in the body, when filtering wastes from the blood to create urine. But when your kidneys filters have been damaged, these blood cells may start to leak into the urine. Blood in the urine can aso be a sign og kidney stones, tumors or an infection.
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 didn’t have any pep or anything.
I would sleep a lot. I’d come home from work and get right in that bed.
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What Are The Symptoms
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 .
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.
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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