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WHAT IS KIDNEY DISEASE AND WHAT CAUSES IT?


kidney diseases occur as a result of some damage to our kidneys, or it could be caused by an infection. Our kidneys job is to filter waste products from our body, help in regulating our blood pressure and eliminate excess water.

Your health is the greatest asset you have on earth. You will never know the value of your health till you visit the hospital or it eventually happens to you. So many things can go wrong with our body.  Kidney disease and failure are one of those bad major things that can happen to a person.

We have to do our best to take care of our health. one out of every 3 American adult is at risk for kidney disease as reported by the National Kidney Foundation.

What exactly do our normal kidneys do?

  • It helps in regulating our blood pressure by secreting renin which helps in the production of angiotensin, that causes vasoconstriction. 
  • Helps in balancing water and minerals (e.g sodium, potasium) in our blood
  • it secrets erythropoetin which aids in the production of red blood cells
  • eliminates waste and harmful substances from our blood


What are some risk factors that can increase our risk of developing kidney disease?

  • age (60 years and above)
  • Family history of kidney failure
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
Just like some cardiovascular diseases, kidney diseases can go undetected for a long period of time and will only reveal itself when some sort of damage has started taking place.

Causes of acute and chronic kidney disease
Acute kidney disease
If your kidney suddenly stops working properly, it is referred to as acute renal failure. it can be caused by:
  • septic shock (shock caused by infection)
  • blood loss as a result of an injury or accident
  • dehydration; when your muscle tissue breaks down sending excess protein into your blood
  • certain medication
  • autoimmune disease; when your immune system attacks your body.
  • eclampsia and preeclampsia
  • enlarged prostrate that blocks urine flow

Chronic kidney disease
When your kidneys malfunction for at least 3 months then you have chronic kidney disease. These symptoms are usually hidden and the disease will manifest when it has already advanced.
Chronic kidney disease is often caused by high blood pressure and type&2 Diabetes.
other causes include:
  • polycystic kidney disease; which is a genetic condition and it manifests as fluid filled sacs in our kidneys
  • Viral diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B
  • pyeloneprhitis, a urinary tract infection especially if it occurs often or is not treated properly
  • long term use of drugs such as NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs e.g ibuprofen

How to test for Kidney Disease
Everyone should know how to test his kidney function. there are 2 test that can help you know if you have kidney disease or will have kidney disease.

1) Urine test
This test is known as urinalysis. Your Doctor or nurse will collect your urine to measure your albumin creatinine ratio (ACR). This test is used to screen people with conditions such as hypertension or diabetes that puts them at an increased risk of developing kidney disease.

2 Glomerular filtration rate (GFR)
This test tells whether your kidneys are doing their job properly, if they are removing waste from your system at the right rate. To be exact, it measures the amount of blood that passes through the glomeruli each minute. 

If your GFR is less than 60 for about 3 months then you have kidney disease.
60 -89 means that you need to be monitored and
90 and above is normal. 


SOURCES
https://www.kidney.org/prevention
http://www.joslin.org/info/how-to-prevent-kidney-disease.html
http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-kidney-disease-prevention

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