: Kidney disease (also called renal disease) is a general term for when the kidneys are damaged and don’t function as they should.
The kidneys are a pair of fist-sized organs located at the bottom of the rib cage. There is one kidney on each side of the spine.
Kidneys are essential to having a healthy body. They are mainly responsible for filtering waste products, excess water, and other impurities out of the blood. These toxins are stored in the bladder and then removed during urination.
The kidneys also regulate pH, salt, and potassium levels in the body. They produce hormones that regulate blood pressure and control the production of red blood cells. The kidneys even activate a form of vitamin D that helps the body absorb calcium.
Kidney disease occurs when kidneys become damaged and can’t perform their function. Damage may be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure, and various other chronic (long-term) conditions. Kidney disease can lead to other health problems, including weak bones, nerve damage, and malnutrition.
If the disease gets worse over time, kidneys may stop working completely. This means that dialysis will be required to perform the function of the kidneys. Dialysis is a treatment that filters and purifies the blood using a machine. It can’t cure kidney disease, but it can prolong life.
Many different symptoms can occur during kidney failure. Usually someone with kidney failure will have a few symptoms of the disease, though sometimes none are present. Possible symptoms include: a reduced amount of urine, swelling of your legs, ankles, and feet from retention of fluids caused by the failure of your kidneys to eliminate water waste, unexplained shortness of breath, excessive drowsiness or fatigue, persistent nausea, confusion, pain or pressure in chest, seizures and comma.
A sudden loss of blood flow to kidneys can prompt kidney failure. Some diseases and conditions that cause loss of blood flow to the kidneys include: a heart attack, heart disease, scarring of the liver or liver failure, dehydration, a severe burn, an allergic reaction and a severe infection, such as sepsis.
High blood pressure and anti-inflammatory medications can also limit blood flow. (UNI)