About kidneys

About kidneys

What are kidneys and what is their function?

Your kidneys remove wastes and extra fluid from your body. Your kidneys also remove acid that is produced by the cells of your body and maintain a healthy balance of water, salts, and minerals such as sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and potassium in your blood.

Without this balance, nerves, muscles, and other tissues in your body may not work normally.

Your kidneys also make hormones that help

  • control your blood pressure
  • make red blood cells NIH external link
  • Keep your bones story and healthy

How did I get Kidney Disease?

The two main causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure, which are responsible for up to two-thirds of the cases. Diabetes happens when your blood sugar is too high, causing damage to many organs in your body, including the kidneys and heart, as well as blood vessels, nerves and eyes. High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when the pressure of your blood against the walls of your blood vessels increases. If uncontrolled, or poorly controlled, high blood pressure can be a leading cause of heart attacks, strokes and chronic kidney disease. Also, chronic kidney disease can cause high blood pressure.

What is my stage in Kidney disease?

eGFR – Estimated glomerular 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, body size and gender. Your GFR tells your doctor your stage of kidney disease and helps the doctor plan your treatment. If your GFR number is low, your kidneys are not working as well as they should. The earlier kidney disease is detected, the better the chance of slowing or stopping its progression.

How can I slow its progression?

The best way to slow or prevent kidney disease from high blood pressure is to take steps to lower blood pressure. These steps include a combination of medication and lifestyle changes, such as

  • healthy eating
  • physical activity
  • maintaining a healthy weight
  • quitting smoking
  • managing stress

No matter what the cause of the kidney disease, high blood pressure can increase damage to the kidneys. People with kidney disease should keep their blood pressure below 140/90.

What are the symptoms of Chronic Kidney disease?

Factors that may increase your risk of chronic kidney disease include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Being African-American, Native American or Asian-American
  • Family history of kidney disease
  • Abnormal kidney structure
  • Older age

What is Polycystic Kidney Disease

Acquired cystic kidney disease happens when a person’s kidneys develop fluid-filled sacs, called cysts, over time. Acquired cystic kidney disease is not the same as polycystic kidney disease (PKD), another disease that causes the kidneys to develop multiple cysts.

Acquired cystic kidney disease occurs in children and adults who have

  • chronic kidney disease (CKD)—a condition that develops over many years and may lead to end-stage kidney disease, or ESRD. The kidneys of people with CKD gradually lose their ability to filter wastes, extra salt, and fluid from the blood properly.
  • end-stage kidney disease—total and permanent kidney failure that requires a kidney transplant or blood-filtering treatments called dialysis.

The cysts are more likely to develop in people who are on kidney dialysis. The chance of developing acquired cystic kidney disease increases with the number of years a person is on dialysis. However, the cysts are caused by CKD or kidney failure, not dialysis treatments.

Can Kidney disease affect little ones too?

Kidney disease can affect children in various ways, ranging from treatable disorders without long-term consequences to life-threatening conditions. Acute kidney disease develops suddenly, lasts a short time, and can be serious with long-lasting consequences or may go away completely once the underlying cause has been treated. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) does not go away with treatment and tends to get worse over time. CKD eventually leads to kidney failure, described as end-stage kidney disease or ESRD when treated with a kidney transplant or blood-filtering treatments called dialysis.

Children with CKD or kidney failure face many challenges, which can include

  • a negative self-image
  • relationship problems
  • behaviour problems
  • learning problems
  • trouble concentrating
  • delayed language skills development
  • delayed motor skills development

Children with CKD may grow at a slower rate than their peers, and urinary incontinence—the loss of bladder control, which results in the accidental loss of urine is common.

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