The body has two kidneys that perform the crucial roles of maintaining the normal physiological condition of the body. Its vital role is to cleanse the body of toxic substances and excess fluids in the blood, regulate the blood pressure and balancing the salt and mineral usages in the blood. When the kidney fails to perform its normal function, such as when a kidney disease occurs, the body will experience significant physiologic changes that can result in various forms of disorders that can be fatally serious and life threatening under certain circumstances. Keeping the kidneys healthy is therefore important for better sustenance of the body's normal function.
The vital functions of the kidneys
The kidney is a body organ that performs vital functions for maintaining the normal physiologic state of the body. It is responsible for the removal of waste products in the body and in maintaining a balanced amount of fluids and minerals essential for the normal functioning of the body. It also stimulates the production of red blood cells and produce vitamin D for better bone health condition. The kidneys also produce renin, which is an enzyme that helps regulate the blood pressure in the body.
What is a kidney disease?
A kidney disease occurs when the kidney becomes injured or damaged, preventing it to perform its normal function. As a result, there is the risk of increasing the amount of waste products in the body owing to the body's inefficiency of disposing waste and toxic materials in the blood. Fluid buildup also occurs resulting in the swelling of the ankles, extreme weakness, shortness of breath and poor sleep. When left untreated, the kidney may completely cease to function and it can become a fatal condition that can lead to a life threatening situation or death.
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When the kidney is damaged and consequently affecting its normal function, the kidney disorder may last more than three months, a condition referred to as chronic kidney disease. At the early stage of kidney disease, the person may not be aware of the condition as it remains asymptomatic until it reaches a more irreparable damage which makes treatment more difficult. A kidney disease is commonly caused by the following conditions:
- Immune disorders
- Diabetes mellitus
- High blood pressure
- Urinary tract infection
- Congenital defects
- Inflammation of the glomeruli of the kidney
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Long term use of medications (like NSAIDs and intravenous street drugs)
What are the symptoms of kidney disease?
A disease of the kidneys may result in the following symptoms:
- Fatigue and weakness
The kidney is responsible for the production of red blood cells, which help carry oxygen rich cells to keep the body energized.
- Urinary changes
The kidney is responsible in producing urine, which is where the toxic waste in the body are released and disposed. A kidney disease will result in significant changes in the urine, such as producing foamy or bubbly urine, blood containing urine, difficulty in urination and frequent urination. The urine may also be pale or dark-colored.
Swelling is apparent in kidney disease because the kidneys are unable to regulate the fluid buildup up in the body. Swelling is more common in the ankles.
Because the body is unable to release the toxic wastes in the body, skin itching occurs and rash formation is possible.
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Kidney disease prevention
Prevention is better than managing the symptoms of a kidney disease. Once the kidney completely fails to perform adequately, the chances of survival of the person will mainly depend upon dialysis, which is a lifetime and costly treatment. It is essential to observe a tight control of the body's blood sugar level in order to prevent an overload in the performance of the kidney. Living a healthy lifestyle is also essential to prevent the risk of developing a kidney disease. Quit smoking as early as you can because it can also increase your chance of damaging your kidney. Another way of preventing kidney disease is to control your bad cholesterol and keep your blood pressure healthy. Because a kidney disease remains asymptomatic at its early stage, early detection of the condition is crucial in order to obtain proper medication and treatment. Taking a regular test, such as monitoring your blood creatinine can help in the early detection of a kidney disease.
How to keep your kidney healthy
Keeping your kidneys healthy is crucial. It is the best prevention process that you can do in order to eliminate the risks of a kidney disease. These tips will help you keep your kidneys healthy and working more efficiently for a better health condition.
- Maintain your good cholesterol level
- Eat more fruits and vegetables in your diet. Avoid eating fatty foods that are high in cholesterol
- Do not smoke. If you are already smoking, now is the best time to quit. Your risk for a kidney disease is three times when you are a smoker and it also doubles your risk for other serious chronic diseases like stroke and heart attack.
- Exercise regularly to maintain an ideal weight. Obese individuals have a higher chance of a kidney disease with the additional risk of getting a high blood pressure.
- Refresh the body with fluids. Drinking water is a healthy option because it is free of calories and it helps the kidneys flush toxic wastes more efficiently.
- If your blood test shows some abnormalities of creatinine, take the medication prescribed by your doctor regularly in order to prevent the progression of any existing kidney health problem that you already have that can result in further damage to your kidneys.
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