Understanding Kidney Disease
Your kidneys 2 small, bean shaped organs which help remove waste products from your body. There are found in the middle of your back, just below the rib cage, and contain around a million nephrons. Kidney diseases attack the nephrons and can reduce the kidneys ability to function.
What are common kidney disease symptoms
Chronic kidney disease is a long term condition where the kidneys do not work effectively. Early symptoms may include:
- increased urination at night,
- passing only small amounts of urine,
- swelling of hands and feet due to increase water retention,
- high blood pressure,
- unpleasant taste in the mouth,
- shortness of breath,
- loss of appetite.
Other kidney problems include infection, which can cause pain in your back or side, and fever and sickness. It is usual caused by bacteria travelling from your bladder to your kidneys, and needs prompt treatment to prevent long-term damage.
Other kidney conditions
Kidney stones are caused by a build-up of crystals in your kidney which can cause similar symptoms to an infection. Most kidney stones can be passed at home, but some larger stones may block the urinary tract, cause great pain and need treatment.
Other kidney diseases include polycystic kidney disease which runs in families, and cancer which can be spotted by blood in urine, a lump in the abdomen, lack of appetite and weight loss, and pain in the side that doesn't go away.
How to treat Kidney Diseases
Treatment required will depend on the type of kidney disease you have. Kidney infections need prompt treatment with antibiotics. Kidney stones may need no treatment, except perhaps pain relief or in more severe cases may need breaking up with x-ray or ultrasound.
Chronic kidney disease is incurable, but treatments may include medicines to lower blood pressure, control blood glucose and lower cholesterol. In the long-term sufferers are likely to need kidney dialysis (regular blood cleaning treatment) and in some cases a transplant.
Risk of chronic kidney disease can be reduced by having a healthy diet, avoiding excessive alcohol and exercising regularly. To help maintain kidneys you can choose foods with less salt, keep blood pressure in check and if you have diabetes stick within the target blood glucose levels.