The kidney's most important job in the body is to filter the blood circulating in your body. They are there to remove wastes and keep the blood clean. They also control your body's fluid balance. This means they adjust the minerals, water, and salt in the body before they are sent back to the body. They do this several times a day. The wastes it collects are passed into the bladder using the ureter where the wastes are turned into urine. One encouraging fact though is that although even if your two kidneys work only at about 10% of their capacity, you may not notice any difference at all or you may not feel any problems or symptoms. However, if blood is impeded going to your kidneys, you could start feeling bad soon enough as that could result in kidney failure.
Acute kidney failure is the result of the kidneys' inability to filter waste products in your blood. In this case, dangerous levels of unwanted body waste begin to accumulate and create an imbalance in your blood's chemical components. Also referred to as renal failure, its onset can be rapid and you can feel the symptoms in only a few days. Acute kidney failure can be found mostly in people who have already been critical in intensive care.
This condition needs intensive hospital treatment and if not attended to as soon as possible can be fatal. The good news is that acute kidney failure is possible to reverse and a normal person in relatively good health can recover their normal kidney function.
Kidney failure by nature doesn’t cause pain in the patient. Nevertheless, it can have consequences that indeed cause some pain and discomfort in other parts of the body.
Causes of Kidney Disease With Reduction In Kidney Function
The kidneys' sudden failure to function and inability to effectively filter blood can be due to three identifiable main reason:
Blood flow is stopped because of
- blood or fluid loss
- congestive heart failure
- severe dehydration or burns
- an infection
- blood pressure medications
- other medications such as ibuprofen, aspirin, naproxen, COX-2 inhibitors as Celebrex
- liver failure
Your urine is being blocked and unable to leave your kidneys. The contributing factors to this condition could include:
- nerve damage in the bladder
- kidney stones
- presence of blood clots in the urinary tract
- cancer of the cervix, prostate or colon
- enlargement of the prostate
Direct damage to the kidneys from
- kidney damaging medications such as those used in chemotherapy, antibiotics, NSAIDs such as naproxen and ibuprofen.
- inflamed kidneys filter caused by lupus, multiple myeloma, toxins, and infections.
- cholesterol buildup and deposits
- blood clots
It is important to note that some factors that cause kidney failure are certainly treatable and your impaired kidney function may be reversed and return to normal. However, kidney failure may turn out to be progressive and may be irreversible.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Signs and symptoms of kidney failure begin to manifest themselves as body waste products build up and accumulate in the body. This includes the retention of excess body fluids that may result in shortness of breath, weakness, lethargy, confusion, and swelling. You may experience abnormal heart rhythms t when your potassium in the blood reaches abnormal levels. One thing to watch out for is that in the early stages of chronic kidney disease, you may not observe or feel any symptoms and such can only be felt until your kidneys have been damaged and functions are severely affected. For this reason, it is often the case that a person is seen by his or her physician for another condition and the signs and symptoms observed became related to kidney failure. For people who are already being treated for diabetes and high blood pressure, their kidney functions are currently monitored as part of their routine medical care.
Several tests can confirm the diagnosis of kidney failure. These include:
- Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) – a test used to check how well your kidneys are functioning,
- Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) – a test to measure the amount of nitrogen present in your blood that comes from urea. A high reading means your kidneys' function is impaired.
Urine tests may also be included and ordered by your doctor to determine the concentration of electrolytes in the blood as well as the presence of abnormal cells and amount of protein. Additional test can be also be performed depending on the initial results such as kidney biopsy and abdominal ultrasound. A biopsy involves taking a tissue sample of your kidney for testing to find out what is the cause of your current kidney problems.
The primary goal of managing and treating kidney failure is the prevention of other chronic diseases that contribute to kidney failure. These include high blood pressure or hypertension, and diabetes. Both conditions require long term monitoring and treatment. Your physician can prescribe medications to control hypertension and cholesterol-lowering drugs as well. Ensuring these can help prevent further deterioration of your kidney function. If your hypertension and/or diabetes are left untreated, your renal capacity will be impaired and can be incapacitated leading to kidney failure. It is possible to preserve kidney function under circumstances if the underlying causes are treated but not always improved. Kidney damage can go on and worsen in time.
Your doctor or on consultation with a kidney specialist can also prescribe other medications to control and treat other symptoms like swelling and anemia. Upon your health professional's recommendation, you can also eat a diet that minimizes waste production in your blood, calcium and vitamin D supplements that help to improve weak bones and minimize fracture risk. Follow up testing is imperative to determine the progression of your disease and so you can doctor adjust your medications accordingly. End-stage kidney disease or complete or near-complete kidney failure treatment will have to involve dialysis to remove blood waste products artificially through a hemodialysis machine or kidney transplant, with the viable organ coming from a deceased or living donor.
What are the normal conditions
Although kidney disease is known and has affected a large segment of the population, many sufferers are not even aware that they have the disease in one stage or another. Oftentimes, people feel that something is off in their health but postpone going to the doctor thinking that what they are having doesn't involve any major part of their body. But although at the start or before its onset, kidney disease doesn't manifest any significantly negative signs or symptoms, it is important to act with haste to minimize the risk of developing this disease by being aware of keeping yourself in normal conditions.
You can stay normal and avoid developing kidney disease through the following practices:
- Always read and follow the instructions before taking over the counter medications. Self-medications can often lead to abusing such medications and taking too many could result in kidney damage. If you know that you already have kidney disease, the more you should avoid such practice and always consult with your health professional as a priority to make sure that such medications are safe for you.
- Maintain and control a healthy weight. You can do this by physical activity when and where possible. Your nutritionist or physician can give you valuable advice about strategies for controlling and healthily maintaining your weight.
- Avoid or stop smoking. Long term studies and researches have demonstrated that smoking can indeed cause damage to your kidneys. Your doctor or community health worker can recommend effective strategies for kicking this nasty habit. You can also join support groups and attend counseling. You can also try to stop smoking aids like medications or meditation.
- Make sure that you are updated in your medications for controlling your diabetes or hypertension as they increase your risk of exacerbating your kidney disease or start your way into having one if you ignore your doctor's instructions on taking your medications on time diligently. Your doctor will schedule regular checkups, usually every three or six months to monitor your blood sugar level and blood pressure. He or she can also order tests that can show how your kidneys are doing and if the medications your taking are working.
- Risks of Having Kidney Disease With Reduction In Kidney Function
Risk factors that may increase the possibility of you having chronic kidney disease include the following:
- Uncontrolled or poorly controlled high blood pressure or hypertension
- Cardiovascular disease
- Uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes (Type 1 or Type 2)
- Genetics or family history of kidney disease
- Abnormal structure of the kidneys
- Older age
- Kidney stones
- Prostate disease
- Racial makeup -African-American, Native American or Asian-American
When to Seek Medical Attention
Anyone can have kidney disease including you at this very moment and may not be aware of it. It is therefore very important to be diligent and observant when you start to feel something not right with regards to your overall health, especially those signs and symptoms that point to the early stages of kidney disease. Please take extra effort to identify these signs and symptoms and see if any applies to your condition:
- Trouble falling asleep or keeping yourself asleep. Accumulated toxins stay in the blood and couldn't be released to the body and expelled through the urine causing difficulty in sleeping.
- Being tired, unable to concentrate and noticeable less energy. This can be caused by the buildup of impurities and toxins in the blood.
- Frequent urge to urinate especially at night. Damaged kidneys cannot fully filter wastes and can cause you to urinate more frequently than normal.
- Dry and itchy skin. This can be a sign of mineral and nutrient deficiency that helps keep bones and skin healthy, free from dryness and itchiness.
- Bloody urine. Kidney damage can cause red blood cells to leak into the urine.
- Foamy urine. This indicates excessive protein in the urine, a sign of kidney damage.
- Swollen feet and ankles. This means that sodium is being retained in those parts causing inflammation and swelling. This condition can also signal liver disease, chronic leg problems, and heart disease.
- Puffiness around the eyes that wouldn’t go away. This could be due to a large amount of protein leaking into the urine instead of keeping in the body.
- Muscle cramps. This is usually a result of electrolyte imbalance resulting from kidney function deterioration.
- Poor appetite. This could indicate any number of other related or not related conditions but poor appetite could be a result of toxin buildup due to impaired kidney function.
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