How kidney works
How often does kidney disease occurs?
What causes chronic kidney disease?
Kidney disease symptoms
Basic laboratory results that may indicate kidney disease
How to keep kidney healthy?
High blood pressure
High blood pressure is the most important factor that determines how fast the development of a chronic kidney disease will occur. This is why it is very important to learn how to prevent high blood pressure and / or how to lower it. Some chronic kidney diseases may result in kidney failure.
It this case a patient needs to clean its blood with an artificial kidney, stomach dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Artificial kidney or hemodialysis is a method that is used to achieve the extracorporeal removal of waste products such as creatinine, urea and free water from the blood when kidney is in a state of renal failure.
Stomach peritoneal dialysis
Stomach peritoneal dialysis is a process that uses the patient’s peritoneum in the abdomen as a membrane across which fluids and dissolved substances (electrolytes, urea, glucose, albumin and other small molecules) are exchanged from the blood.
If this does not happen the patient will die from body poisoning in a very short period of time. Body poisoning or uremia is the illness accompanying kidney failure (also called renal failure), in particular the nitrogenous waste products associated with the failure of this organ.
Kidney removes the harmful substances from one’s blood. These substances are usually produced during the process of protein metabolism. Kidney’s function is also to remove the unnecessary water from one’s body.
Every day the kidney cleans somewhere around 180 liters (about 48 US gallons) of blood. In addition to that, 1.5 to 2 liters (about 0.3 to 0.6 US gallons) of urine and other harmful substances are removed from the body by the kidney every day.
Kidney also performs a number of other very important functions in the body: they regulate blood pressure, the number of red blood cells (erythrocytes) in blood and the level of calcium.
Red blood cells, or erythrocytes, are the most common type of blood cell and are delivering oxygen (O2) to the body’s tissues via blood flow through circulatory system.
It is estimated than 1 in 20 people has problems with urinary tract. One in 20 or 30 patients with a kidney disease ends up with a kidney failure.
The most important factors that may lead to a chronic kidney disease are diabetes (a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar), poorly treated arterial hypertension (a chronic medical condition in which the blood pressure in the arteries is elevated) and glomerulonephritis (several renal diseases that usually affect both kidneys).
The risk of suffering from kidney disease is highest with elders, patients with high blood pressure, patients with diabetes, and patients that have a history of known kidney disease in their family (parents, brothers and sisters).
Below are some of the most common kidney disease symptoms.
When you notice any of the symptoms stated above you should visit your personal doctor. Early discovery of kidney disease can prevent the development of chronic kidney disease. Additionally, one can prevent or greatly slow down the decline of it’s kidney function. This means it will take much longer until a person will need an artificial kidney.
It is advisable to measure the concentration of serum creatinine to evaluate the current condition of kidney system. Concentration of serum creatinine (a blood measurement) is an important indicator of renal health because it is easily measured and is a byproduct of muscle metabolism. Higher concentration of creatinine in blood can be a serious sign of a chronic kidney disease.
The amount of red blood cells and proteins in blood is also a good indicator of kidney function and may be a factor when determining kidney health. Kidney works as a filter that doesn’t allow the proteins to get into the urine. If proteins are secreted in urine this usually means that the kidney does not function properly.
Severe damage to kidney system means that kidney function will worsen at even faster pace. A higher level of the protein in urine results in a foamy urine.
Test that should be conducted to determine kidney disease
The basic visual examination of kidney can be done by performing ultrasound on urinary tract. Ultrasound is a medical imaging technique used to visualize muscles, tendons, and many internal organs, to capture their size, structure and any pathological abnormalities with real time tomographic images.
Ultrasound has been used by radiologists and sonographers to image the human body for at least 50 years and has become a widely used diagnostic tool.
Ultrasound is used to determine the position and the size of the kidneys, the difference in kidney tissue, the presence of cysts, tumors (an abnormal mass of tissue as a result of abnormal growth) and kidney stones. A special method is used to measure the flow of blood into the kidney arteries – these arteries supply the kidneys with blood.
This helps to determine the presence of narrowing of kidney arteries which can be the cause of higher blood pressure. The most important examination in diagnosing a kidney disease is kidney biopsy. This is a medical procedure in which a small piece of kidney is removed from the body for examination under a microscope. Microscopic examination of the tissue may provide information needed to diagnose, monitor or treat kidney problems.
High blood pressure
Patients with high blood pressure and ill kidney have a higher risk of suffering from a dysfunction of one of the vitally important organs (cardiovascular system and brain) than patients with a high blood pressure and a normal working kidney system. These dysfunctions may result in a heart failure or stroke.
High blood pressure shows no severe symptoms. But the consequences might be very serious and they often become obvious only at later stages of kidney disease. It is of utter importance that patients with a kidney disease recognize the dangers of a poorly managed high blood pressure at an early stage of the development of a disease.
A serious arterial hypertension (a blood pressure that is greater than 180/110 mmHg) can, in a very short period of time, cause a great degradation in the performance of the renal system.
Treatment of high blood pressure
The worsening of kidney system can be prevented by treating high blood pressure. This also reduces the risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease.
The process of preventing high BP has to be intensive and persistent. Different researches on patients with kidney disease have determined the value of blood pressure that has a positive effect on renal system. This means that a specific level of blood pressure may stop or greatly reduce the progress of kidney disease. This level of blood pressure is called targeted blood pressure.
For patients with a dysfunctional renal system, the target blood pressure levels are:
When treating arterial hypertension one should first consider non-pharmaceutical measures. This means that one should first try to lower blood pressure without using any drugs. If such method fails, drugs to lower blood pressure are available.
Lower loss of proteins in urine is an indicator of a successful treatment of a kidney disease. This slows down the progress of a disease and enables renal system to perform better.
Below is some advice on how to keep your kidney in good shape.
Eat healthy food
Maintain or introduce healthy eating. Eat a lot of vegetables and fruit and consume less meat. Use olive oil instead of animal fat and limit the input of proteins.
Avoiding too much salt will not only lower your blood pressure, but it will help kidney as well. When kidneys are not working as well as they should, waste and fluid build up in your body. Over time, the waste and extra fluid can cause heart, bone and other health problems.
A kidney-friendly meal plan limits how much of certain minerals and fluid you eat and drink. This may help keep the waste and fluid from building up and causing problems. How strict your meal plan should be depends on your stage of kidney disease. In the early stages of kidney disease, you may have little or no limits on what you eat and drink. As your kidney disease worsens, your doctor may recommend limiting the intake of potassium and phosphorus.
Consumption of too much salt may results in swelling and higher blood pressure. Use of different spices instead of salt is recommended. If kidney disease advances one should talk to a personal doctor and follow the prescribed diet. Such diet is based on the results of laboratory tests.
Drink enough liquid
Drink a lot of water. One should consider talking to a personal doctor about the suitable amount of water per day. Some forms of kidney, liver and heart disease even require you to decrease the daily input of water. Mineral water is not recommended as it contains salt. Avoid drinking alcohol drinks as alcohol will increase blood pressure levels.
If you are overweight, lose some weight
The diet should be carefully monitored by a personal doctor. Before starting with a diet one should talk to a personal doctor and define a suitable target weight. Consider calculating Body Mass Index (BMI).
The best way to lose weight is by eating healthy food and performing regular exercise. This should become a vital part of one’s everyday life. Working out at least three times per week, not less than 30 minutes per day is advised.
Smoking greatly affects overall health and potential kidney diseases. This is even more noticeable with patients with diabetes. Smoking damages vascular system, accelerates aging and arteriosclerosis processes (thickening and hardening of arterial walls) in the body.
Limit the use of painkillers
Regular use of painkillers may result in kidney failure, especially if the painkillers are used every day, even for minor physical pain. There are painkillers available that are not harmful to kidney system, so one should consult a personal doctor before choosing the product.
Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which a person has high blood sugar levels, either because the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced (insulin resistance).
Diabetes is the most common reason for kidney failure. Therefore maintaining normal levels of blood sugar is also very important to prevent the kidney disease.
Consult with a personal doctor
Successful treatment of chronic kidney disease can only be possible when a patient is cooperative. The patient should listen to the doctor’s instructions and take great care of own health.