Kidneys are filtered organs present in vertebrates which help in removing water-soluble wastes from the blood. A normal human body possesses two kidneys which are bean-shaped and weigh around 150 grams each.
Kidneys function as the waste disposal system of our body. Every day kidneys are processing around 200 liters of filtrate while absorbing a large amount of it and producing around 1 to 2 liters of wastes.
Kidneys allow re-absorption of molecules from this filtrate into the blood. Thereafter these molecules are transferred to the urinary bladder and then expelled from the body as urine. Kidneys also produce hormones like erythropoietin, vitamin D, and enzyme renin.
Kidneys perform homeostatic functions which include regulating acid-base balance, blood pressure, electrolyte balance and extracellular fluid volume. The waste products include nitrogenous wastes urea and uric acid.
Kidney problems are divided into two groups:
These problems are treated by nephrologists.
Surgical diseases include:
These diseases are treated by urologists with surgery, endoscopy, and lithotripsy.
In kidney diseases, the nephrons are attacked due to which the capacity to remove wastes from the blood. The different causes of kidney diseases are:
Kidney Failure(Renal failure or renal insufficiency): It is a medical condition in which kidneys are unable to function properly. There are numerous causes of kidney failure out of which some cause is treatable and can bring back the kidney to a normal state.
But in some cases, the failure can be advanced and reversible. People suffering from kidney failure experience nausea, weakness, hunger loss. Blood and urine tests are done for diagnosis. There are two types of renal failure which are categorized by the trend in the serum creatinine.
Other factors include anemia and kidney size on sonography. In chronic kidney disease, the kidney size reduces and the patient suffers from anemia.
Acute Kidney Injury:
In acute kidney injury (AKI) there is an abrupt progressive failure in the kidney filtration process but it is not very common. It was known as acute renal failure (ARF) previously. It is mostly characterized by oliguria (decreased urine production and imbalance in fluid and electrolyte concentration).
There are various causes for AKI which are classified as prerenal, intrinsic, and postrenal. Proper identification of the cause must be done for the treatment and sometimes dialysis is done for a cure.
Diagnosis can be done by Kidney function studies, Peripheral smear, Complete blood count, Serologic tests, Fractional excretion of sodium and urea and by checking Bladder pressure. Renal ultrasonography is done for evaluating renal disease and blockage of the urinary system.
Aortorenal angiography also helps in the diagnosis of many renal vascular diseases. Renal biopsy is useful for identification of intrarenal causes of AKI.
In most of the cases, kidney function starts worsening over a number of years which is actually good as it can help for early detection and further medication. Moreover dietary and lifestyle changes can improve the functioning of kidneys.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) or chronic renal disease (CRD) occurs due to a progressive and gradual loss of renal function. Symptoms are not specific and might include loss of appetite and general illness.
The most common causes of CKD are
Diagnosis of CKD is done using abdominal ultrasound for measuring the size of the kidneys. People suffering from CKD have kidneys size usually smaller (< 9 cm) than normal kidneys except in diabetic nephropathy and polycystic kidney disease.
Many times CKD is diagnosed during the screening of people who have diabetes, high blood pressure or who are in blood relationship with a person with chronic kidney disease. It is also recognized when a person suffers from heart disease, anemia or pericarditis.
Chronic kidney disease is diagnosed by a blood test for creatinine. If creatinine levels are high then it shows lower glomerular filtration rate which results in reduced ability of the kidneys in excreting waste products from the blood.
If creatinine levels are normal in the initial stages of CKD, then urinalysis (testing of a urine sample) is done which can show whether kidney is preventing the loss of protein or red blood cells into the urine or not. Medical imaging, blood tests and renal biopsy (a small sample of kidney tissue is removed) are other forms of tests which are used to find out the cause for the CKD.
To test the functioning of your kidneys you may undergo following tests:
If the doctor finds something wrong with the kidneys they may prescribe more tests such as x-rays, ultrasound pictures or a kidney biopsy. These tests are done to find out the precise damage to your kidneys.
GFR or Glomerular Filtration Rate is a measure of how well your kidney works. It also determines the stage of your kidney disease. Your doctor can easily calculate it from the results obtained through your blood test.
If kidneys fail completely to remove enough wastes from the blood then a person needs to go for dialysis. It usually occurs when only 10 to 15 percent of kidney function is left. The person has symptoms like swelling, vomiting, fatigue, and nausea. Sometimes these symptoms are not visible but the patient has a high amount of wastes in his/her blood which can be toxic.
Dialysis is used to carry out some of the functions of kidneys when your kidneys fail. Two types of dialysis, hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis are done.Hemodialysis (also hemodialysis) is used for removal of urea, creatinine and free water from your blood in a state of renal failure.
A dialysis machine and a special filter (called an artificial kidney or a dialyzer) are used to clean your blood in Hemodialysis. A minor surgery is done to get your blood into the dialyzer.
As per study kidney problems are more in metros due to a high rate of obesity and fast food consumption among people.
These treatments are commonly used in the clinic for patients with kidney disease around the world. They help patients to live a normal life without undergoing dialysis and kidney transplant.