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Kidney Disease: Causes, Treatment And Prevention

Posted On: March 11, 2020

Kidney Disease: Causes, Treatment And Prevention

Kidney disease normally occurs when the kidneys become damaged. In such situations, they can’t perform their functions. Kidneys are a pair of small-sized organs that are located at the bottom of the rib cage. Kidneys are one of the most essential organs in the body. They are important when it comes to having a healthy body.

Normally, kidneys are responsible for filtering waste products and other impurities out of the blood. All the impurities are stored in the bladder and later removed during urination. Besides regulating the level of pH, they regulate the level of potassium in the body. Kidneys are known to produce hormones that regulate blood pressure. In addition, kidneys not only regulate blood pressure but also control the production of red blood cells.

Kidney disease affects more than 36 million American adults. The number has been rising day by day. Usually, this condition occurs when your kidneys are extremely damaged and can’t perform their function. It is good to know that kidney disease has been associated with numerous health problems such as weak bones and nerve damage.

Your kidneys will stop working completely if the condition becomes worse. This means that you will be required to have kidney dialysis. You might be aware that dialysis is necessary to perform the function of the kidneys. After intensive research, we have analyzed the causes, types and symptoms of kidney disease. Let’s take a look.

Types of kidney diseases

There are several types of kidney diseases:

Chronic kidney disease

It is arguably the most common form of kidney disease. This is a long term condition that will not improve over time. Usually, chronic kidney disease is caused by high blood pressure. High blood pressure is very dangerous for the kidneys. The main reason behind this is that it increases the pressure on the glomeruli. Glomeruli are tiny blood vessels. These blood vessels are located in the kidneys where blood is cleaned. These vessels are damaged by the increased pressure. With time, the functioning of the kidney begins to decline.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones occur when dissolved minerals accumulate on the inner lining of the human kidney. Kidney stones are sharp and crystalline in structure and can develop to the size of a golf ball.  As the stones are being formed, they can move down to the urinary tract and ureter or stay in the kidney. In some instances, the tiny stones will be excreted together with the urine, which could result in pain in the urethra. Kidney stones are mostly associated with body dehydration, lack of proper exercise, obesity or even high body sugar or salt. There’re four main types of kidney stones, which are struvite, calcium oxalate, uric acid, and cystine.

Alport syndrome

Alport syndrome is a general health condition known for causing eye abnormalities, kidney disease, and hearing loss. The condition is known to cause progressive kidney function failure, sensor neural hearing loss and eye abnormalities which may cause vision loss. According to studies, 80% of Alport syndrome is caused by mutations in the COL4A5 gene, while the remaining 20% is caused by mutations in COL4A4 or COL4A3 gene.

Diabetic Nephropathy

Diabetic nephropathy stands for several kidney complications caused by type 1 and 2 diabetes.  This type of kidney disease affects the kidney’s ability to remove body wastes and fluids.  If left untreated for long, diabetic nephropathy can damage the delicate filtering system of your kidney.

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Glomerulonephritis is a kidney disease caused by the inflammation of the kidney’s tiny filters known as glomeruli. Glomeruli are kidney parts responsible for removing waste, fluids, and waste from the bloodstream.  Glomerulonephritis can develop on its own or owing to other diseases such as diabetes or lupus.  If left untreated for long, glomerulonephritis can severely damage the kidney.

IgA Nephropathy

IgA nephropathy is another common kidney disease caused by the buildup of the immunoglobulin antibody in the kidney.  IgA nephropathy usually attacks the glomeruli, causing inflammation that can damage the kidney tissues and affect the body’s ability to filter blood waste. When left untreated for long, the IgA deposits can worsen and impair the glomeruli, leading to the leaking of protein and blood into your urine.

Minimal Change Disease

Commonly referred to as MCD or nil disease, minimal change disease is a health disorder that affects the kidney and leads to nephrotic syndrome. For clarification purposes, nephrotic syndrome is made up of multiple symptoms, including swelling, lower blood protein levels, high cholesterol levels, lower protein levels in the urine and high triglyceride levels. This kidney disorder is common in children aged 2 to 6 years.

Polycystic Kidney Disease

Polycystic kidney disease is a genetically transmitted disease caused by the growth of cysts in the kidney. When the cysts develop, they enlarge the kidney, which damages the tissues making up the kidney.  PKD is considered one of the common causes of chronic kidney disease, which if not treated leads to end-stage renal disease or kidney failure.

Polycystic kidney disease is characterized in two main types which are autosomal recessive and autosomal dominant PKD. Autosomal dominant PKD only causes cysts in the kidney and sufferers may never notice it. Autosomal recessive KKD cause cysts that grow in the liver and kidney. Patients of autosomal recessive will often show signs during the first few months.

Common Causes of Kidney Disease

There’re many factors and triggers that lead to kidney disease and here are the main ones.

  1. High blood pressure – according to the National Kidney Foundation, high blood pressure is the most common cause of kidney disease. High blood pressure is known to damage blood pressure, reducing the amount of blood supplied to your kid. It may also damage glomeruli, the tiny kidney filters responsible for removing fluids and wastes.
  2. DiabetesType 1 and 2 diabetes are also known to cause kidney disease.
  3. Cancer – renal failure, which is a common kidney disease can also result from kidney cancer.
  4. Medications – extreme use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can damage the kidney leading to kidney disease. The most common of such medications is naproxen sodium and ibuprofen.

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The Major Kidney Disease Risk Factors

There are some common conditions or situations that double the chances of anyone suffering from kidney disease which include:

  • Your family has a history of kidney disease.
  • You have obesity or diabetes.
  • You or someone else in your family was diagnosed with acute kidney injury.
  • You have high blood pressure.
  • You have exceeded the 60-year mark of age.
  • You smoke a lot.
  • You have had a stroke or established heart problems.
  • Your kidney has been injured in the past.

Common Symptoms of Kidney Disease

Kidney disease can showcase in a human’s body in different ways. Anyone who wants to know if they have kidney disease can have their body examined or just watch out for these common signs and symptoms.

  • Trouble in breathing and difficulties in sleeping.
  • Reduced cravings for food.
  • Increased or reduced urine output.
  • Muscle cramps and swelling on the lower extremities.
  • Vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.
  • Back pain and abdominal pain.
  • Nosebleeds and fever.

Diagnosing kidney disease

Discussing personal and family history is the first step your doctor will take in diagnosing kidney disease. Your doctor will ask questions about whether you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, if you have taken a medication that might affect kidney functioning, if you have noticed some changes in urinary habits and whether any of your members is suffering from kidney disease. In most cases, kidney diagnosis includes:

  • Imaging tests.
  • Urine tests.
  • Blood tests.

How to Prevent Kidney Disease

There’re several adjustments you can make on your lifestyle and diet to minimize your chances of suffering from kidney disease and here are some of such adjustments.

  • Increased intake of vegetables and fruits.
  • Keeping your weight under control.
  • Eating fish and chicken lean meat at least once a week.
  • Drinking the recommended amount of water per day.
  • Minimizing your intake of fatty and salty foods.
  • Exercising regularly to keep yourself fit.
  • Quitting smoking.
  • Minimizing your intake of alcohol.
  • Getting your blood pressured checked quite often.
  • Stay clear of toxic anxiety and stress levels.

How to Treat Kidney Disease

Kidney disease can be treated medically or through living a healthier lifestyle. Some medical treatments for kidney disease are kidney transplants, dialysis, treating anemia and treating high blood pressure. The most common lifestyle changes that could help bring your acutely damaged kidney to its health status include, quitting smoking, avoiding stress, minimizing alcohol intake, taking the right diet and drinking adequate water every day.


Kidney disease affects 10% of the world’s population. Millions of these people die yearly due to lack of access to quality and affordable treatment. Among the millions of people who die each year from kidney disease, some die because they never got a chance to learn what the disease is all about and what to do to stay safe. Learn about kidney disease, including the many types, symptoms, treatments and precautionary methods to keep yourself safe.




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