Kidneys have a number of important functions to perform in our bodies. Firstly, they filter the wastes from the bloodstream and help maintain the balance of electrolytes in the body. They remove the chemical and drug byproducts as well as the toxins from the blood stream. Further, all these substances are eliminated from the body along with excess water as urine. They also play an important role in secreting hormones that regulate the absorption of calcium from the food – thus improving your bone strength. Well they help in the production of red blood cells and regulate the amount of fluid in the circulatory system and hence are important when it comes to controlling blood pressure.
When the blood enters the kidneys, it is filtered in two steps. First through structures called glomeruli and second through a series of tubules called nephrons. The tubules perform a dual task. They remove the unwanted substances and also reabsorb the useful substances back into the blood.
So, what causes kidney failure?
There are a number of conditions that could contribute to kidney damage. Some are primary kidney diseases and some are other conditions that indirectly affect the kidney. Here are a few causes:
· When a kidney is damaged to an extent that it cannot function normally, it caused kidney failure.
· Kidney failure can happen rapidly or slowly. Rapid failure, or acute kidney failure as it is called, is usually in response to another illness in the body that impacts the kidneys. If the underlying cause can be treated or controlled in time, kidney failure can be prevented. Slow failures happen in response to a chronic disease such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
· In some cases, kidney disease is hereditary
· Infections and substances such as drugs can permanently scar the kidneys and lead to failure.
It is most commonly seen that people with the following conditions are at a greater than normal risk of developing kidney related problems.
· Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes
· High blood pressure – especially when not controlled in time.
· Liver disease
· Heart disease
· Inherited kidney diseases
· Those taking a lot of antibiotics
Most common symptoms to look out for:
The symptoms for kidney failure vary widely depending on the cause of the kidney failure. These symptoms also depend upon the severity of the condition and the other parts of the body that are affected.
It is important to note that most people do not show any symptoms at all – especially in the early stages of the disease. Some display very subtle or mild symptoms that are very difficult to catch. The most obvious symptoms appear only when the condition becomes severe or even critical. Kidney failure is not painful – even when severe. However, watch out for dehydration, fluid retention, urinating less than usual or nausea, vomiting or pale skin.
Kidney transplant is considered as a viable treatment where the non working kidneys are replaced with healthy kidneys from another person. Your doctor will conduct a series of tests to ensure that you have a kidney that matches the criteria and will evaluate your surgical and medical history before the surgery.