Healthy kidneys are necessary for a healthy body because these organs eliminate excess water, toxic products, and impurities from the blood. Besides filtering waste products, kidneys help to regulate salt, potassium, and pH levels, release a type of vitamin D to enable calcium absorption and secrete hormones for controlling RBC and hormone production.
However, studies reveal that almost 26 million people in the US suffer from kidney diseases in some form or the other. When the kidney is damaged and unable to perform as it should, it is a sign of kidney disease. This damage could be triggered because of conditions like high blood pressure, or diabetes and kidney diseases can, in turn, lead to nerve damage, weaker bones, and malnourishment.
What Are The Types Of Kidney Diseases?
- When kidney functions get affected gradually, it indicates chronic kidney disease; if this reaches the advanced stage, it may result in the build-up of abnormal levels of waste products, electrolytes, and fluids in the body. Chronic kidney disease is typically brought on by high blood pressure which mounts pressure on tiny blood vessels called glomeruli in kidneys. As the pressure rises, the vessels get damaged and kidney function declines. Besides high BP, diabetes can cause chronic kidney diseases; increased blood sugar levels similarly damage kidney blood vessels over the years and the blood is not purified properly as a result.
- Kidney stones are another type of kidney disease when minerals and substances crystallize inside the kidneys and produce solid masses or stones.
- Polycystic kidney disease refers to a rare but serious, genetic ailment that produces many cysts inside kidneys and these interfere with the organ’s functions, causing kidney failure.
- Glomerulonephritis happens when glomeruli get swollen. These tiny vessels filter blood inside the kidneys and the disease may be caused because of drugs, infections, or sometimes may be present from birth.
- Urinary Tract Infections refer to bacterial infections that are treatable with drugs and they do not usually trigger major health problems.
What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Diseases?
Symptoms of kidney problem usually can’t be identified until it has progressed to the advanced stage. Watch out for these symptoms:
- Vomiting sensation
- The regular urge to urinate
- Presence of foam in the urinate
- Experiencing shortness of breath
- Feeling exhausted most of the time
- Swollen ankles and fluffy eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Experience frequent muscle cramping, particularly in the legs
- Dry and itchy skin
- Unwanted weight loss for no reason
- Poor sleep
- Chest pains when there is fluid build-up around the heart lining
Risk Factors And Complications of Kidney Problems:
- Factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and habits like smoking can increase the risks of getting kidney diseases.
- The kidney is also affected when you are obese or have a family history of kidney diseases.
- Old age may be a risk factor.
- An abnormal kidney structure
- Belonging to Asian-American, Native American or African-American racial groups heightens risks.
Complications are bound to arise since kidney problems are known to affect almost all body parts. Fluid retention causes swelling in limbs, lungs, and high pressure. A sudden spike in potassium levels will affect heart functions and this may be fatal. Kidney diseases trigger cardiovascular ailments, weaker bones, heightened risks of fractures, anemia, reduced sex drive, reduced fertility, damages to the central nervous system, seizures and personality changes, reduced immunity, pericarditis or inflammation of the membrane around heart, complications during pregnancy, and irreversible damage to kidneys.
Kidney diseases can be treated by controlling the causes responsible for them. So, drugs or medications are the most common form of treatment available. For those with chronic kidney problems, the doctor manages the entire treatment to slow down the damage as far as possible. The nephrologist, in this case, will work on the factors triggering the disease, like blood pressure or diabetes.
Doctors are known to prescribe blood-pressure medications-ACE inhibitors like ramipril or lisinopril, or ARBs like olmesartan and irbesartan. They will thwart the progress of the disease and preserve kidney functions. Sometimes cholesterol drugs are prescribed for lowering blood cholesterol levels to maintain kidney health. Drugs can also be given for treating anemia and relieve swelling, depending on the symptoms. You must ask your doctors about drugs to avoid and consult him before starting herbal remedies.
Finally, diet and lifestyle changes will help tackle the causes of this disease. So, your doctor will advise you to cut down on high-cholesterol foods, sodium intake, eat more fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy foods and whole grains. Limiting alcohol intake, quitting smoking, losing weight, and doing more physical activities can help treat the condition.
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