Kidney disease is a severe problem that can affect anyone. It is essential to be aware of the risk factors for kidney disease so that you can take steps to protect yourself. Let’s discuss some of the most common kidney disease risk factors. Knowing these risks can help you stay healthy and avoid developing kidney disease. Here is what you need to know to promote kidney health and what to do if you suspect you are developing or have kidney disease.
Types of Kidney Disease and Their Causes
Approximately 37 million adult Americans have kidney disease. Diabetes, high blood pressure, and many other chronic (long-term) illnesses may result in kidney damage. The different types of kidney disease that can occur are:
- Chronic kidney disease: Chronic renal disease is the most prevalent type of kidney disease. The long-term status of chronic renal disease does not get better with time. It frequently results from excessive blood pressure. Because it might put more pressure on the glomeruli (capillaries around the end of a kidney), high blood pressure harms the kidneys. These are the minuscule blood arteries in the kidneys that purify the blood. The increasing pressure destroys these veins over time, which leads to a reduction in kidney function.
- Kidney stones: Kidney stones develop when certain blood constituents, such as minerals, create solid masses in the kidneys (stones). Urination is the usual way that kidney stones leave the body. Kidney stones seldom result in serious issues, but passing them can be excruciatingly uncomfortable.
- Glomerulonephritis: The glomeruli become inflamed in glomerulonephritis. Glomeruli are incredibly tiny kidney structures that filter blood. Glomerulonephritis can be brought on by illnesses, medications, or conditions that develop during or soon after birth (congenital abnormalities). Often, things get better on their own.
- Renal polycystic disease: A genetic condition known as polycystic kidney disease results in an abundance of cysts—tiny fluid-filled sacs—growing inside the kidneys. Renal failure may result from these cysts’ interference with kidney function. Individual kidney cysts are relatively common and nearly often benign. It’s crucial to remember that. Kidney polycystic disease is a distinct, dangerous condition.
- Urinary tract infection: Bacterial infections of any region of the urinary system are known as urinary tract infections (UTIs). The most frequent infections are those of the urethra and bladder. They rarely cause additional health issues and are simple to treat. These infections can, however, travel to the kidneys and result in renal failure if they are not treated.
Signs of Kidney Disease
Until their kidney disease is advanced, the majority of people may not exhibit any severe symptoms. You might see, though, that you have less energy and increased fatigue, difficulty concentrating, poor appetite, problems sleeping, cramping in your muscles at night, puffiness under your eyes, especially in the morning, swollen feet and ankles, dry, itchy skin, and the need to urinate more frequently, especially at night. (National Kidney Foundation)
Preventing Kidney Disease
You should concentrate on preventing diabetes and high blood pressure to reduce your risk of developing renal disease. They are two of the things that threaten your kidneys the most. Work to control it if your doctor diagnoses you with diabetes or hypertension (another word for high blood pressure). That will protect your kidneys from the further deterioration that chronically high blood sugar or high blood pressure induces. The same behaviors that are excellent for your heart and weight, such as maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, drinking in moderation, getting plenty of exercises, and taking any prescribed medications, are also beneficial for your kidneys. (WebMD)
Properly Diagnosing Kidney Disease
Although it is a serious disease, kidney disease can be managed and prevented with proper care. Many people are still unaware of the warning signs or how to protect themselves from kidney disease, so spreading awareness about this issue is essential. If you suspect you may have kidney disease, you must visit your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. With the proper medical attention and lifestyle adjustments, those who suffer from kidney disease can manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Johnson, Shannon. “Kidney Health and Kidney Disease Basics: Causes and Questions.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 17 Sept. 2018, https://www.healthline.com/health/kidney-disease#symptoms.
“Facts about Chronic Kidney Disease.” National Kidney Foundation, 13 Jan. 2023, www.kidney.org/atoz/content/about-chronic-kidney-disease.
“Chronic Kidney Disease Prevention.” WebMD, WebMD, www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-kidney-disease-prevention.