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Kidney Disease

  • Kidney Disease

    The purpose of this site is to provide you with information on kidney disease.You will read about the causes, symptoms, diet, remedies and a lot more about kidney disease. Information contained in this site is intended for information and educational purposes only and not intended or suited for professional medical treatment. A physician must be consulted to seek any advice in related to health matters. All human beings find change stressful - even the change that we are looking forward to. Renal failure patient will have to deal with more change than most people do. Not just the initial change of lifestyle after diagnosis, but ongoing changes like diet, medication and other challenges. All these changes mean you have to learn more and make decisions. You also have to adjust to doing less than you would like to and asking for help. This could be extremely stressful. Once the doctor breaks the news about kidney disease, the patient goes through shock, denial, emotional distress, anger, depression and many other emotions before accepting and seeking help. Specific anxieties that renal patients may have include:
    • Worries about how the illness will affect your relationships
    • Your ability to work
    • Your finances
    • Your quality of life
    • You may also be anxious about understanding your condition or managing your treatment
    Many patients find that they can regain a sense of control by learning as much as they can about kidney failure and treatment. Becoming an expert enables them to participate more actively in making decisions.

    Counseling: Counseling may help. The counselor will listen to you and try to understand your feelings from your perspective and will work with you to help you find your own way of dealing with problems. Having counseling is not about being ill or inadequate. It is about making a positive choice to help you. Early treatment can certainly slow the kidney disease from becoming kidney failure. This site will help you understand the steps that can help understand this disease, seek and prepare for proper help and live as close as to normal life.
  • Facts

    Facts about kidney disease

    It is hard to put a number on how many people die of kidney failure each year; the number may very well be in millions. It is essential to know the risks and what need to be done to avoid this disease.

    The kidneys:

    • There are two kidneys
    • Kidneys are located on either side of the spine, just below the rib cage
    • Kidneys are about the size of a fist
    • The kidneys are shaped like kidney beans
    • Kidneys are connected to bladder by tubes called ureters
    What do kidneys do? Kidneys may be best described as filters in your body. Kidneys keep things in your body that are required and reject the things that you don’t need. There are many other things kidneys do and they include:
    • Make urine
    • Remove waste and extra fluid from your blood
    • Help control your blood pressure
    • Make red blood cells
    • Balance hormones
    • Balance body chemicals
    • Maintain healthy bones
    Kidneys

    Symptoms and early signs of kidney disease: Kidney disease refers to a variety of diseases. CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) is the term coined to describe a common kidney disease that may be caused by many different diseases e.g. diabetes, high blood pressure, some drugs, physical injury etc. There are no early symptoms of kidney disease. There are no early symptoms of kidney disease. Yes, you are right the previous sentence was written twice to emphasize the fact that there are no early symptoms until the disease is almost at a chronic state. Speak with your doctor if you:
    • Often feel sick to your stomach
    • feel tired or dizzy
    • have swelling in your feet, hands or face
    • have back pain
    • have bloody, foamy or dark colored urine
    • need to urinate more or less than usual
    Common kidney diseases:
    Kidney Stones: Stones may be caused by numerous reasons and could be very painful. Stones can also cause urine blockage and may cause you to have blood in your urine. Stones are quite common however; rarely cause permanent damage to kidneys.
    Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD): A genetic disorder where numerous cysts grow in the kidneys PKD cysts can slowly replace much of the mass of the kidneys and can lead to kidney failure.
    Kidney Infections:
    Kidney infections are usually caused by bacteria that spread from the bladder and is known as Pyelonephritis.
    Simple Kidney Cysts: Abnormal pouches of fluid in the kidneys. Unless the cysts cause pain, bleed or become infected, they usually do not require treatment. Direct blow to the kidneys must be avoided and in some cases may need to be closely monitored by your doctor.
    Kidney Cancer: This disease may cause one or more tumors in the kidney.
    Nephrotic Syndrome: It is not a disease but a sign of another disease that damage the kidneys. Signs may include protein in the urine, low blood protein and swelling.

    It is very important to address any kidney disease symptoms immediately. Any untreated symptoms may lead to kidney failure.

  • Risks and Prevention


    Risks of having a kidney disease Anyone can develop kidney disease but you are at a higher risk if you
    • Have diabetes
    • Have high blood pressure
    • Have a history of kidney disease in family
    • Over 60 years old
    • African American, Hispanic or Asian

    Preventing Kidney Disease Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of kidney failure. It is very crucial to keep a very close eye on blood glucose and blood pressure. Other items to keep in mind are:
    • Regular check-ups with your doctor
    • Taking medicines that are only prescribed by your doctor
    • Exercise
    • A low-fat diet
    • Quit smoking
    • Drink alcohol in moderation
  • Tests for Kidney Disease

    As indicated earlier that this disease rarely shows any symptoms. Tests are the only way to find out if you have this disease. The following tests may help uncover this disease:

    GFR – (Glomerular Filtration Rate) indicate:

    • How well your kidneys clean your blood
    • Value from creatinine will help calculate the estimated GFR
    • A normal GFR is between 90 – 130, it may drop as you get older.
    • A value below 60 suggests that there may be some kidney damage. GFR is an estimate of how well the kidneys are doing. The value over 60 does not mean the kidneys are perfectly fine, your doctor may look at other tests to find if you may have kidney disease.

    Stages of CKD:



    GFR Stage Description
    90 – 130 and no protein in urine Normal Kidneys are working normally
    90 or more and protein in urine Stage 1 Slight decrease in kidney function
    60 – 89 Stage 2 Mild decrease in kidney function
    30 – 59 Stage 3 Moderate decrease in kidney function
    15 -29 Stage 4 Severe decrease in kidney function
    Less than 15 Stage 5 Kidney failure – may need dialysis soon

    Urine Test:

    • Kidney damage can cause protein to leak into the urine. This protein is called “albumin”
    • A 24 hrs urine test

    Blood Pressure:

    • High blood pressure can cause kidney disease
    • Kidney disease can also cause you to have high blood pressure
    Blood Glucose (Sugar) Test:
    • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure – must have the test done
    • If the blood sugar is too high -  it may be a sign of diabetes

    Kidney Biopsy:

    • A tiny piece of kidney tissue is examined under a microscope

    Imaging Tests:

    • Examples are ultrasound scan, CT (computed tomography) scans and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Diabetes

    Diabetes is also known as sugar. It is a disease where the body has problem with a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps your body use the sugar you eat for energy. When your body doesn’t use insulin the way it should, too much sugar starts to accumulate in your body and starts to cause some damage. Blood sugar should be kept as close to normal as possible. This will help slow down kidney damage and help prevent other problems such as heart disease, stroke, amputation and blindness. There are two main types of diabetes:

    Type 1 diabetes:

    • Body does not make enough insulin
    • Insulin shots or insulin pump is needed for daily use
    • This type of diabetes is common in kids and young adults

    Type 2 diabetes:

    • Body makes insulin but can’t use it well
    • Special diet, exercise, medicines are needed to address it
    • This kind usually starts after age 40 however, may start early

    Kidneys are like a filter to the body. Kidneys keep the good stuff and reject the stuff that is not required or is harmful. These filters in kidneys are full of tiny blood vessels (glomeruli). Blood sugar can hurt these tiny blood vessels. When this happens, it is called diabetic kidney disease (or diabetic nephropathy). If the diabetic kidney disease is not treated early, it can lead to kidney failure. Sometimes it may take many years for the diabetic kidney disease to happen. This means you have time to help protect your kidneys. You may not be able to feel if your diabetes has hurt your kidneys. The only way to know is to be tested to find out how well your kidneys are working.

    Tests for diabetes: There are few tests that are very important.

    Blood Glucose Test: This test shows how much sugar (glucose) is in the blood. This test can be performed at home.

    Hemoglobin A1C: This blood test can indicate how your blood sugar has been over the last 2 or 3 months.

    Urine Test: Damaged kidneys let protein leak into the urine. The protein is called albumin. If the protein is found in urine, it could indicate that you may have microalbuminuria, proteinuria or albuminuria. This can be an early sign of kidney disease. People with diabetes should have their urine test at least once a year.

    Eye Exam: Just like kidneys, eyes have many tiny blood vessels. Diabetes can hurt these blood vessels too. This can cause blindness. A regular exam is also recommended for diabetes patients.

    Foot Exam: Diabetes can hurt body nerves too. This can keep you from feeling sores on your feet. These sores can get infected and don’t heal. Very bad infections can lead to amputation.

    Dental Exam: Diabetes can also hurt your teeth and gums. Check with your dentist at least twice a year.