Imaging Techniques For The Kidney
KUB is the proper terminology for a radiograph of the abdomen when used to view the urinary tract. The outline of kidneys can usually be seen. Ureters usually are not visible. The most common pathological findings are urinary tract stones. See the image below.
The imaging technique of choice for evaluation of the urinary tract and adrenal glands is CT scanning. It allows evaluation of the relative density of structures. CT scanning without contrast can be used for detection of renal or ureteral stones. See the image below.
The advantages of ultrasonography include that it is readily available, does not require contrast, and avoids radiation exposure. The renal medulla is hypoechoic compared with the renal cortex. The renal cortex is isoechoic or slightly hypoechoic compared with the liver. Ultrasonography is able to identify simple or mildly complicated cysts and is able to differentiate these lesions from a solid mass. It is excellent for detecting hydronephrosis. See the image below.
Radionuclide Renal Scintigraphy
Renal radionuclide imaging is an integral part of nuclear medicine and provides substantial information on the actual renal function.
The following radionuclides are used for dynamic imaging:
- Tc-99m-diethylene triamine pentaacetic acid
For static imaging, Tc-99m-dimercaptosuccinic acid is used.
A diuretic challenge can also be administered.
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
How Can You Keep Your Urinary Tract Healthy
You can help keep your urinary tract healthy by following some basic tips.
Drink enough fluids, especially water. If youre healthy, try to drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid each day. You may need to drink more if you have kidney stones or bladder stones. At least half of your fluid intake should be water. You might need to drink less water if you have certain conditions, such as kidney failure or heart disease. Ask your health care professional how much fluid is healthy for you.
Keep your bowels regular. Regular bowel movements are important to your bladder health. You can promote both bowel health and bladder health by
- making healthy food choices. You can keep your urinary tract healthy by sticking to an eating plan that includes lean proteins, whole grains, fiber-rich breads, nuts, colorful berries, fruits, and vegetables to promote regular bowel movements.
- living a healthy lifestyle. Get regular physical activity, limit your alcohol intake, cut down on caffeinated food and drinks, and dont smoke.
Go whenever you need to. Often, people will hold their urine because its not a good time to go to the bathroom. However, holding in your urine for too long can weaken your bladder muscles and make it harder for your bladder to empty completely. Urine left in your bladder can allow bacteria to grow and makes you more likely to develop a urinary tract infection .
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Monitor Weight And Eat A Healthy Diet
People who are overweight or obese are at risk for a number of health conditions that can damage the kidneys. These include diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease.
A healthy diet thats low in sodium, processed meats, and other kidney-damaging foods may help reduce the risk of kidney damage. Focus on eating fresh ingredients that are naturally low-sodium, such as cauliflower, blueberries, fish, whole grains, and more.
Physiologic Considerations In Microscopic Anatomy
The renal tubular system is uniquely structured in order to maximize its physiologic function. One of its primary functions is to concentrate urine accordingly to the bodyâs hydro-osmotic state . A hyperosmotic state results in the excretion of hyperosmotic urine, and the reverse is true for when the body is in a hypo-osmotic state. The kidney is able to carry out this function by 2 mechanisms: the action of antidiuretic hormone on the medullary collecting ducts and the phenomenon termed countercurrent multiplication.
Countercurrent multiplication is responsible for keeping the medullary interstitial osmotic concentration higher than the renal tubular osmotic concentration. When the iso-osmotic fluid from the proximal tubule enters the descending limb, the osmotic concentration gradient forces water to move out of the descending limb. By the time the tubular fluid reaches the bottom of the loop of Henle, it has a higher osmotic concentration than the interstitial medullary fluid in the ascending limb. Hyperosmolar tubular fluid entering the ascending limb causes NaCl to be reabsorbed back into the medullary interstitium passively. Once the tubular fluid reaches the thick ascending limb, more ions are reabsorbed into the medullary interstitium actively.
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Getting A Medical Diagnosis
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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What Affects The Amount Of Urine You Produce
The amount of urine you produce depends on many factors, such as the amount of liquid and food you consume and the amount of fluid you lose through sweating and breathing. Certain medicines, medical conditions, and types of food can also affect the amount of urine you produce. Children produce less urine than adults.
What Are Clinical Trials And Are They Right For You
Clinical trials are part of clinical research and at the heart of all medical advances. Clinical trials look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease. Researchers also use clinical trials to look at other aspects of care, such as improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses. Find out if clinical trials are right for you.
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Common Symptoms Of Kidney Pain
Musculoskeletal problems are common causes of back pain. However, back pain can also be a sign of a kidney problem. In addition to the pain in your middle back, groin area, or abdomen, kidney pain also comes with other symptoms, including:
- Nausea and vomiting
- A strong urge to urinate but in small amounts
- Urine that is cloudy or has a foul odor
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
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Renal Nerve Anatomy/autonomic Innervation
The kidney receives autonomic supply via both the sympathetic and parasympathetic portions of the nervous system. The preganglionic sympathetic nervous innervation to the kidneys arises from the spinal cord at the level of T8-L1. They synapse onto the celiac and aorticorenal ganglia and follow the plexus of nerves that run with the arteries. Activation of the sympathetic system causes vasoconstriction of the renal vessels. Parasympathetic innervation arises from the 10th cranial nerve , the vagus nerve, and causes vasodilation when stimulated.
Kidney Location Where Are Your Kidneys Located
As mentioned above most people have one kidney on each side of the posterior abdominal area. The specific location of the kidneys sometimes causes the pain sensation to be confused with other types of pain such as liver or back pain. It is very important to understand the exact location and sensation of kidney pain.
The picture below shows a drawing each kidney in the area where they are located. Flank pain is specifically found in this area. If movement of the muscle or massage does not relieve pain in this area you may be experiencing kidney pain.
Flank pain which is sharp or doesnt change upon movement is most likely kidney pain and not muscular pain.
Picture 1 : Surface of the kidney location Image source : meded.ucsd.edu
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Swelling In Hands Or Feet
Why this happens:
Failing kidneys don’t remove extra fluid, which builds up in your body causing swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, and/or hands.
What patients said:
I remember a lot of swelling in my ankles. My ankles were so big I couldn’t get my shoes on.
Going to work one morning, my left ankle was swollen, real swollen, and I was very exhausted just walking to the bus stop. And I knew then that I had to see a doctor.
What Is The Urinary Tract
The urinary tract is the bodys drainage system for removing urine, which is made up of wastes and extra fluid. For normal urination to occur, all body parts in the urinary tract need to work together, and in the correct order.
Kidneys. Two bean-shaped organs, each about the size of a fist. They are located just below your rib cage, one on each side of your spine. Every day, your kidneys filter about 120 to 150 quarts of blood to remove wastes and balance fluids. This process produces about 1 to 2 quarts of urine per day.
Ureters. Thin tubes of muscle that connect your kidneys to your bladder and carry urine to the bladder.
Bladder. A hollow, muscular, balloon-shaped organ that expands as it fills with urine. The bladder sits in your pelvis between your hip bones. A normal bladder acts like a reservoir. It can hold 1.5 to 2 cups of urine. Although you do not control how your kidneys function, you can control when to empty your bladder. Bladder emptying is known as urination.
Urethra. A tube located at the bottom of the bladder that allows urine to exit the body during urination.
The urinary tract includes two sets of muscles that work together as a sphincter, closing off the urethra to keep urine in the bladder between your trips to the bathroom.
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Shortness Of Breath After Very Little Effort
Why this happens:
Being short of breath can be related to the kidneys in two ways. First, extra fluid in the body can build up in the lungs. And second, anemia can leave your body oxygen-starved and short of breath.
What patients said:
At the times when I get the shortness of breath, it’s alarming to me. It just fears me. I think maybe I might fall or something so I usually go sit down for awhile.
I couldn’t sleep at night. I couldn’t catch my breath, like I was drowning or something. And, the bloating, can’t breathe, can’t walk anywhere. It was bad.
What Is Kidney Pain
People often mistake kidney pain as back pain.
Unlike back pain, which usually occurs in the lower back, kidney pain is deeper and higher up the back. The kidneys can be found underneath the ribcage, on each side of the spine. Pain from the kidneys is felt in the sides, or in the middle to upper back . The pain may also progress to other areas, such as the abdomen or groin.
Kidney pain is a result of swelling or blockage in the kidneys or urinary tract. Other symptoms such as fever, vomiting, or painful urination are clues that the pain is a result of a kidney problem.
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Nephrons: The Basic Functional Units Of Blood Filtration And Urine Production
Each kidney contains over 1 million tiny structures called nephrons. The nephrons are located partly in the cortex and partly inside the renal pyramids, where the nephron tubules make up most of the pyramid mass. Nephrons perform the primary function of the kidneys: regulating the concentration of water and other substances in the body. They filter the blood, reabsorb what the body needs, and excrete the rest as urine.
What Clinical Trials Are Open
Clinical trials that are currently open and are recruiting can be viewed at www.ClinicalTrials.gov.
This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by the NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.
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What Is The Function Of The Kidneys
The excess waste products and excess fluid are removed when the kidneys produce urine that is excreted from the body. Moreover, the kidneys play an important role in the regulation of the body’s salt, potassium, and acid content.
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.
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How Do My Kidneys Work
Each of your kidneys is made up of about a million filtering units called nephrons. Each nephron includes a filter, called the glomerulus, and a tubule. The nephrons work through a two-step process: the glomerulus filters your blood, and the tubule returns needed substances to your blood and removes wastes.
Kidney Pain And Alcohol Abuse
Although the kidneys do not directly filter alcohol, problems associated with the kidneys may be related to the alcohol abuse. Alcohol can affect certain renal hormones such as anti-diuretic hormone and result in dehydration.
Alcohol may also raises the risk of atherosclerosis and cause clot formation in the kidneys.
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