Healthy kidneys are essential for a healthy life as the organ is responsible for filtering the blood of waste products. You have two kidneys, both of the size of a fist. These are situated on either side of the spine right beneath the rib cage. Each kidney is made of a million tiny structures called nephrons, which are responsible for filtering the blood. The filtered blood goes back to the bloodstream. From the kidneys, the excess water passes through tube-like structures called ureters, before reaching the bladder, where they are stored for urination. Your bladder has nerves that tell the brain that it is full. You pass out urine through a pipe-like structure called the urethra.
In most kidney diseases, the nephrons are damaged, which renders the kidneys useless in filtering the blood. Several factors can put you at risk of getting kidney disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and if someone in your family suffers from kidney-related ailment(s). There are several diseases and conditions the kidneys can get affected from:
In case your kidney fails, you either need dialysis, in which your blood gets purified by a machine, or you need a kidney transplant.
As we saw there are a number of kidney diseases. Let us look at them one by one.
As we saw that the urinary system is made up of two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra. When there is a bacterial infection in any part of this system, it is called urinary tract infection (UTI). If you are a diabetic, have a spinal cord injury, or empty your bladder through a tube, then you are at a greater risk of getting UTI. Although it affects both genders, women are four times more likely than men to suffer from it.
Yet another common kidney problem is kidney stones. As you know that kidneys filter blood, but sometimes minerals and other substances in the blood crystalises to form kidney stones, whose size varies from a grain of sand to a pearl. In most cases, they are small enough that they get passed out through urine. But in the case of a large kidney stone, it can get stuck anywhere in the urinary tract, hence need surgery for removal.
Cysts, which are fluid-filled sacs, can grow on kidneys, and these are generally harmless. However, there are certain diseases that can lead to the formation of cysts, which can pose complications. One such disease is polycystic kidney disease (PKD). A genetic disorder, PKD causes numerous cysts to form on the kidneys, which interferes with the normal functioning of the organ, and can even lead to kidney failure. It can also affect other organs, such as the liver.
Chronic kidney disease, or CKD, is a long-term kidney ailment that doesn’t improve with time. In this case, kidneys fail, and they can no longer filter the blood, because of which waste builds up in the body. High blood pressure and diabetes are the main reasons behind it.
Kidney cancer results from tumour forming in the lining of small tubes inside the kidneys. Factors that can increase your risk of developing kidney cancer are smoking, if someone in your family has kidney disease, or you have been misusing pain medication for a long.
Although every kidney disease displays different signs, here are some common symptoms that indicate a kidney ailment:
Now let us look at the symptoms of individual diseases one by one.
There are some factors that can increase your risk of getting a kidney disease:
The treatment for a kidney disease depends on the cause. For example, if high blood pressure is the reason for the disease, then the doctor might prescribe you a treatment to control that. Here are the treatment options:
As you saw that if you are suffering from kidney disease, having a balanced diet is crucial for you. There are some foods that are good for the kidneys that you can incorporate into your diet:
Kidneys are vital for our survival. They are the body’s drainage system that flushes out wastes and excess water. Without their normal functioning, toxins build up in the body. Hence, preventing kidney diseases, and keeping the organ healthy is very important. Here are some tips that might help:
Making these lifestyle changes will protect you from developing kidney diseases. They’ll also keep your kidneys healthy.