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Kidney diseases – Symptoms, causes, and management options

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Kidney diseases – Symptoms, causes, and management options

The kidneys play a vital role in one’s body, which is filtering wastes and excess fluids from the bloodstream through urine. Besides that, they are also responsible for maintaining a healthy balance of electrolytes and producing essential hormones. Therefore, when the kidneys are affected by a condition, their ability to perform these critical functions can be compromised. Keep reading to learn more about kidney disease, its types, symptoms to watch out for, causes, and treatments.

Types of kidney diseases

There are several types of kidney diseases; however, the most common among them are acute kidney disease (also called acute kidney failure) and chronic kidney disease.

  • Acute kidney disease- Acute kidney disease, also known as acute kidney failure, is a temporary and often reversible condition where the kidneys suddenly lose their ability to function properly.
  • Chronic kidney disease- This is a progressive and long-term condition that develops over time. There is presently no cure for chronic kidney disease; however, one can manage its symptoms through treatments.

Causes

Kidney diseases can have various underlying causes, and they often differ between acute and chronic conditions.

  • Causes of acute kidney diseases

Acute kidney diseases are characterized by the sudden disturbance or stopping of kidney functions. The factors that cause these include-

  1. Enough blood does not reach the kidneys
  2. The kidneys have experienced direct damage
  3. The flow of urine has been blocked

These situations can arise due to several factors, which include the following-

  1. Severe infections, such as sepsis.
  2. Trauma or injury to the kidneys
  3. Blood loss due to an injury, which does not let enough blood reach the kidneys
  4. Kidney stones, which can affect the flow of urine
  5. Dehydration
  6. Blood clots
  7. Autoimmune diseases
  8. Heart or liver failure

Besides these, any other issues that can either impact the blood flow to the kidneys, block the flow of urine, or cause damage to the kidneys can cause acute kidney failure.

  • Causes of established kidney disease

The causes of chronic kidney disease include the following-

  1. High blood pressure- Uncontrolled high blood pressure can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys.
  2. Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes
  3. Prolonged blockage of the urinary tract
  4. Family history of chronic kidney disease
  5. Glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the kidney filters)
  6. Polycystic kidney disease (a genetic condition causing cysts in the kidneys)
  7. Autoimmune disorders

Symptoms

In most cases, chronic kidney diseases may not show symptoms until later stages. However, both acute and chronic kidney disease (in a later stage) have some common signs and symptoms, which include the following-

  • Sudden decrease in urine output- A noticeable reduction in the amount of urine produced indicates impaired kidney function. Also, unusually frequent urination may also be a symptom of chronic kidney disease.
  • Swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet- This is caused by fluid retention due to the kidneys’ inability to remove excess fluids.
  • Vomiting and nausea- The buildup of waste products and electrolyte imbalances can cause nausea and vomiting.
  • Breathing problems- If the fluid accumulates in the lungs, it can lead to breathing difficulties.
  • Chest pain- This may occur if the fluid buildup puts pressure on the heart.

Other symptoms that may occur due to impaired kidney functions include fatigue, itchy skin, muscle cramps, and confusion.

Treatments and remedies

The treatment of kidney diseases varies depending on the type and stage of the condition. While acute kidney disease is often treatable, chronic kidney disease may not be curable but can be effectively managed. In cases of acute kidney disease, addressing the underlying cause, such as treating infections or injuries that caused damage to the kidneys, can often lead to restoring kidney function. On the other hand, chronic kidney disease is typically irreversible, but its progression can be slowed through a combination of treatment approaches and lifestyle modifications. Some common treatment treatments and remedies for restoring kidney functions include the following-

  • Dialysis- Dialysis is a procedure that artificially filters waste and excess fluids from the body.
  • Kidney transplant- In cases of end-stage kidney disease, a kidney transplant may be considered as a long-term solution.
  • Managing underlying health conditions- Effective management of conditions like diabetes and hypertension can slow the progression of kidney disease.
  • Lifestyle changes- This includes being active and eating balanced meals.

Kidney diseases can have a significant impact on a person’s health and quality of life. Understanding the types, causes, symptoms, and available treatments is crucial for early detection and effective treatment of the condition. With proper care and lifestyle adjustments, individuals with kidney diseases can slow the progression of these conditions. If one notices any symptoms and signs of kidney disease, consult a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

Disclaimer: The content of the articles discussing symptoms, treatments, health conditions, and side effects is solely intended for informational purposes. It is imperative that readers do not interpret the information provided on the website as professional advice. Readers are requested to use their discretion and refrain from treating the suggestions or opinions provided by the writers and editors as medical advice. It is important to seek the help of licensed and expert healthcare professionals when necessary.