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Common Kidney Diseases and ways to prevent them

Team AckoSept 23, 2022

Kidneys are essential internal organs that help filter and remove liquid waste from the human body. A Kidney Disease may occur when these organs fail to function correctly. The accumulated waste can be fatal if it is not discarded from the body for a long time. One can face severe health issues due to such a situation. Thus, you must be aware of common Kidney Diseases and ways to prevent them so that you can take timely action if required. Read on to know more.

Kidney Diseases

What is a Kidney Disease?

Kidney Disease refers to conditions that affect your kidneys and decrease their function of filtering waste from your blood. When your kidneys don't function properly, waste can accumulate in high amounts in your blood, leading to health issues. You are more likely to have heart and blood vessel problems if you have a Kidney Disease. The occurrence of these issues may be gradual and continuous. 

The progression of chronic Kidney Disease can sometimes be prevented by early detection and treatment. If Kidney Disease is left untreated, it can eventually result in kidney failure, which calls for a transplant or dialysis to survive.

Different kinds of Kidney Diseases

Here is a list of different kinds of Kidney Diseases.

1) Glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis is caused when the glomeruli, the tiny filters in your kidneys that clean your blood, get damaged and cannot remove fluid and waste from your blood. Kidney failure may result from this over time. Various medical conditions can cause Glioblastoma, and the reason determines the appropriate course of treatment.

2) Cystinosis

A person can suffer from Cystinosis when their body accumulates a chemical called cystine. The kidneys become a primary place for depositing the extra cystine in the body. This can lead to injuries in the kidneys and eventually cause Kidney Disease. A kidney transplant may be necessary for those with Cystinosis who need to take medication to lower their cystine levels. Cystinosis may occur in infants under one year of age.

3) Lupus Nephritis

As an autoimmune disorder that causes your body's immune system to target its tissues, Lupus Nephritis damages your kidneys and the rest of your body, causing discomfort, swelling, and other symptoms. Chronic renal disease or kidney failure may result from this condition. Although there is no known cause or cure for lupus nephritis, many patients can manage their symptoms and avoid chronic kidney damage with medication.

4) IgA Nephropathy

IgA Nephropathy is a condition that damages the minuscule blood-cleansing filters (called glomeruli) in your kidneys. This causes the body's immune system to produce proteins that accumulate in these filters. IgA nephropathy patients are frequently unaware of their condition because this damage might take years to develop. It can cause chronic renal disease, kidney failure, or even death. IgA nephropathy has no known treatment, but medications can reduce damage to the kidneys.

5) Polycystic Kidney Disease

Cysts (growths filled with fluid) form on your kidneys and other organs due to Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), which is a genetic illness that can be passed on from one generation to another. These cysts may reduce your kidney's capacity to filter fluid and waste from the blood. Kidney failure may eventually result from PKD. PKD is not curable, but therapies can decrease the growth of cysts and stop the symptoms from negatively affecting one's health.

6) aHUS

Atypical hemolytic uremic syndrome (aHUS) is a rare hereditary disorder that develops tiny blood clots in your body's small blood vessels. These clots can cause harm by obstructing blood flow to your kidneys and other vital organs. Many individuals with aHUS never experience symptoms. Symptoms might begin when a "triggering event" occurs, such as becoming pregnant or being diagnosed with cancer.

7) Fabry disease

A rare genetic disorder called Fabry can result in the heart, brain, and kidneys receiving less blood than the necessary quota. Chronic renal disease or kidney failure may develop as a result of this over time.

Symptoms of Kidney Diseases

The symptoms of Kidney Disease can be categorised as mild and severe. Let's take a look at these symptoms.

Mild symptoms Severe symptoms
Poor appetite, Fatigue, Frequent urination, Issues in focusing on a task, Dry skin, Swollen ankles, Muscle cramping, Insomnia Swollen feet, Higher potassium, levels, Swelling, Vomiting, Decreased libido, Hyperkalemia, Nausea, Anaemia, Inflammation in the heart

Causes of Kidney Diseases

The following conditions can lead to Kidney diseases.

  1. Diabetes: Diabetes develops if your blood sugar levels are too high. Over time it can harm several body organs, including the kidneys, eyes, heart, nerves, and blood vessels.

  2. Birth defects: Congenital disabilities or birth defects can arise as a baby grows inside its mother's womb. For instance, a constriction may occur in the urethra, obstructing regular urine excretion and causing urine to return to the kidney. This can lead to infections and harm the baby’s kidneys.

  3. High blood pressure: When the blood pressure increases against the walls of your blood vessels, you get high blood pressure. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can increase the risk of strokes, Chronic Kidney Disease, and heart attack.

Kidney damage can also result from obstructions caused by tumours or kidney stones. Frequent urine infections or an enlarged prostate in men can also be a cause of Kidney Diseases.

Stages of Kidney Diseases

Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) is used to assess the severity of Kidney Disease. A normal GFR is 60 or higher. If it is lower than 60, it can signify renal disease. If the GFR is 15, it can mean Kidney failure. The various Kidney Disease stages are listed below.

Early stage

Stage GFR
1 Normal or high GFR (GFR > 90 mL/min)
2 Mild CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) (GFR = 60-89 mL/min)
3A Moderate CKD (GFR = 45-59 mL/min)
3B Moderate CKD (GFR = 30-44 mL/min)

Late stage

Stage GFR
4 Severe CKD (GFR = 15-29 mL/min)
5 End Stage CKD (GFR <15 mL/min)

How are Kidney Diseases diagnosed?

Doctors use several tests to evaluate kidney function and spot renal failure. Here is a list of tests that your medical professional may recommend to diagnose Kidney Diseases.

  • Urine test: The quantity of urine or the presence of certain chemicals in the urine, such as blood or protein, are both determined by urine tests.

  • Blood test: This can determine how effective the kidneys are in filtering waste from the bloodstream.

  • Test for blood creatinine: When the kidneys stop functioning correctly, the blood's creatinine concentration rises.

  • Test to determine blockages: Advanced imaging can be used to find kidney blockages.

  • Glomerular filtration rate test: This test determines the severity of Kidney Disease.

Treatments for Kidney Diseases

Here is a list of potential kidney failure treatments.

  • Dialysis: Your blood is cleaned during dialysis using a machine. You can receive dialysis at a hospital or at home. The components of healthy kidneys cannot be replaced by dialysis. This suggests that you can still experience some health problems due to renal failure even if you receive dialysis.

  • Medication: In some cases, medicines can enable you to live comfortably if you decide against getting dialysis or a transplant. Medication and kidney-friendly food items are used in medical therapy to treat symptoms and improve your mood.

  • Kidney transplant: You receive a healthy kidney from another person's body through a kidney transplant through surgery. Kidneys from a living or deceased donor may be transplanted. Note that a kidney transplant is a form of treatment, not a cure, for renal failure.

Clinical trials can also be useful in this regard. A clinical trial is a type of research study carried out to ascertain the safety and efficacy of a medicine. Clinical trials for renal disease examine the elements listed below.

  • Treatments for renal illness or methods to reduce symptoms

  • Ways to make current treatments better

  • New techniques for identifying the signs of renal illness

Ways to avoid Kidney Diseases

You can lower the risk of Kidney Diseases with the help of the following tips.

  • Follow a healthy diet: A source of protein must be included in your diet, such as pulses, fish, meat, eggs, beans, etc. Reduce your daily intake of salt, sugar, and saturated fats. Additionally, dietitians also advise reducing your potassium or phosphate intake if you have kidney illness.

  • Use fewer NSAIDs: Aspirin and ibuprofen are two examples of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) that can harm the kidneys if used in excess or for a longer period than recommended. If you take such painkillers, be sure to follow the medication's instructions.

  • Exercise regularly: It is advisable to perform two or more days of strength training that targets all major muscle groups each week and at least a couple of hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as quick cycling or walking.

  • Control your alcohol consumption: If you drink too much alcohol, your blood pressure and cholesterol levels may rise to risky levels. Sticking to the recommended alcohol limit is the best way to reduce risk. 

Frequently asked questions

The commonly asked questions and answers about Kidney Diseases and their prevention methods are mentioned in this section.

Can one survive without a kidney?

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You cannot survive without your kidneys because they are essential to your survival. But it can be possible to lead a healthy life with just one functioning kidney.

Does consuming a lot of water improve kidney health?

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Water is the primary component of urine, and it helps the kidneys to filter more waste from the body. Water also helps to create an unrestricted flow of blood and delivers vital nutrients to the kidneys. This delivery mechanism is compromised if you become dehydrated. So, consuming a lot of water improves kidney health by helping them function smoothly.

Which type of food items help kidneys to recover?

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Sweet potatoes, blueberries, kale, apples, spinach, and fish are some of the food items that can aid in kidney recovery.

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet. As this content piece is not vetted by a medical professional, please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.

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