Kidney Disease Information

Kidney disease is often known as a chronic or irreversible condition by many in the Western medical profession. It is a disease that affects the small blood vessels that supply blood to the kidneys. These blood vessels become damaged, so they are unable to provide oxygen to the kidneys, so waste products build up in the blood. This results in long-term damage to the body.

What Do The Kidneys Do?

The kidneys serve several very important jobs or roles in the body. These are listed below.

  • They help the body save water and maintain a proper balance of salts and electrolytes.
  • They separate toxins and other substances including waste products, urea, and mineral salts from the blood.
  • They help balance the volume of body fluids and other minerals in the body.
  • They help make sure the blood pressure in the body stays constant over the long haul.
  • They enable the body to excrete the proper amount of water and electrolytes to match the intake of water and other substances.
  • The kidneys help to activate vitamin D to help the bones stay healthy.
  • The kidneys help filter metabolic wastes from the blood plasma.

Often kidney disease is the result of another disease, so it is often referred to as a secondary disease. The two most common diseases that cause kidney disease are high blood pressure and diabetes. These two diseases can damage the kidneys so they are not able to clean the blood or filter it as well as they normally would; this does not happen instantly however, it takes many years to occur. Eventually, over many years, the kidneys lose their ability to clean the blood thoroughly and shut down. This can result in a life-threatening situation, although this does not have to be the case.

There are many factors that can contribute to kidney disease. These include heart disease or a family history of kidney disease or kidney problems. However, just because you have a family history of a disease like heart disease or kidney disease does not mean you have to become a statistic. It is important you realize that any chronic condition has the potential for resolution. The body has the remarkable ability to regenerate every few years. No matter how potentially devastating a condition, there is always hope for restoration.

Tips for Good Health: Early Detection of Kidney Disease

Many doctors tout the benefits of early detection. This is wise; early kidney disease will present without presenting. What does that mean? That means most people with early kidney disease will have virtually no symptoms. They will feel perfectly fine in most instances. This is unfortunately because for most patients, symptoms present only when kidneys are at their absolute worst, meaning they are about to fail…that means about to, not failing. A simple blood test and a urine test conducted by a physician can measure for protein in the urine and a substance in the blood known as GFR. These can alert your doctor to potential problems with your kidneys. When detected by a health provider, early kidney disease is treatable and often, entirely manageable.

Many doctors will tell patients that kidney disease once diagnosed is not curable. This subject is up for debate depending on what type of doctor you speak with. There are many different philosophies of medicine. Kidney disease can get worse with time and often does for many patients. However, there are many steps that patients can take to improve the health and function of their kidneys and to ensure their overall health and wellness.

Here are simple steps anyone can take to keep their kidneys healthy:

  • Be sure to eat a healthy diet.
  • Drink plenty of water to help flush the kidneys and keep the body hydrated.
  • If you have diabetes, make sure you ask your doctor to test for kidney disease. If you have type 2 diabetes generally the recommendation is that you test each year. For patients with type 1 diabetes you can test every year beginning approximately five years after your first diagnosis with diabetes.
  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure.
  • Make sure your blood glucose is healthy.
  • Make sure your blood cholesterol is within the normal range.
  • Make sure you limit your salt intake to a healthy level.
  • Make sure you get plenty of physical exercise every day. This is also helpful for preventing type 2 diabetes.
  • If your doctor prescribes medications, be sure that you take them.