The human body contains two kidneys, each one is the size of a fist, located immediately below the rib cage. The kidneys’ main function is to filter blood; by clearing away toxins and excess water via nephrons that convert wastes to urine, the urine passes by the ureter to the bladder before being excreted out of the body.
Many diseases may affect the kidneys leading to its inability to remove toxins and excess fluids from the body, these diseases could be classified to:
1- Chronic kidney diseases; long term condition resulting in progressive and permanent damage to the kidney’s tissues therefore, affecting its ability to perform its function.
2- Sever kidney failure: Sudden failure in the kidney’s ability to filter blood, resulting in an increase in toxins to the point of possible imbalance of blood components. Kidney failure usually takes hours to days to occur.
3- Other kidney problems like: kidney stones, cysts and kidney cancer.
Causes of Kidney Diseases
You have to check with a Doctor however, there are common causes for kidney diseases:
2- High Blood Pressure
3- Long term use of medications that affect the kidney’s functions
4- Genetic causes
Symptoms and complications of kidney diseases:
Patients usually don’t have any symptoms except in advanced stages. Some of these symptoms are:
1- Constant fatigue; Healthy kidneys produce the hormone Erythropoietin (which produces red blood cells). If kidneys are damaged, blood synthesis is affected and the person would have chills and fatigue as a result of anaemia.
2- Swelling of the hands, feet or face; because fluids build up in the blood instead of being cleared away by the kidneys as should be.
3- Urine is dark in colour or accompanied by blood.
4- Urine appears bubbly as a result of protein in it.
Lower back pain is not a symptom of kidney disease because kidneys are located superior to the waist, in the middle of the back.
Kidney diseases have many complications some of these are:
1- Fluid build-up in the body; kidney failure may cause fluids to build up in the lungs which in turn causes shortness of breath.
2- Decreased immune functions which result in an increased risk of infection.
3- Pericarditis; Inflammation of the tissue surrounding the heart.
4- Pregnancy complications that put a mother and her baby at risk.
To maintain healthy kidneys consider the following:
1- Healthy diet: a balanced healthy diet provides all the essential minerals and vitamins for the body. One should eat fruits, vegetables and grains. Avoid eating too much salty or fatty foods.
2- Regular monitoring of blood pressure; although high blood pressure is often asymptomatic it may increase the risk of kidney problems.
3- Regular monitoring of blood sugar; high blood sugar is a risk factor for kidney diseases so diabetics need to maintain a healthy diet.
4- Managing body weight; obesity causes high blood pressure which in turn affects the kidneys therefore, it is necessary to aim for a healthy weight by doing exercises and avoiding excessive eating.
5- Drinking enough water helps the kidneys to function properly. Urine must be light-coloured whereas dark urine indicates dehydration.