Kidney Diseases and Symptoms

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What are the common kidney diseases and their symptoms? Information kidney diseases, types and diagnosis.

kidney diseasesKidney Diseases;The kidneys are subject to a wide variety of diseases and disorders.

A condition often accompanying kidney disease is nephrosis, in which the glomerular capillaries leak blood plasma proteins into the urine. If this leakage is continuous and exceeds 5 to 10 grams a day, widespread changes in body metabolism occur. One result of these changes is a retention of excessive quantities of salts and water in the body tissues, leading to a puffiness (edema) of the limbs, trunk, and face.

In severe kidney disease, when the kidney fails to function properly, waste products normally excreted by the kidney are retained in the body and accumulate in the blood, disturbing the functioning of the brain, intestine, heart, skin, and other tissues. This condition is known as uremia, or uremic poisoning. Symptoms of uremic poisoning rarely appear until 80% or more of all kidney function is lost. Therefore, the removal or loss of one kidney causes no symptoms and the growth of the remaining healthy kidney compensates for much of the loss. Death from kidney disease is nearly always the result of uremia.

Types: The nine principal categories of kidney disease are listed below.

Infections: Infections of the kidney may be caused by numerous types of bacteria, viruses, and spirochetes. Recovery from acute nephritis is usually complete, but repeated bacterial infections, called chronic pyelonephritis, cause irreversible damage and are probably the most common cause of kidney failure. The kidneys are particularly prone to bacterial infection if the drainage of urine through the ureters or bladder is impeded, as by a kidney stone, a constriction of the ureter or urethra, or in men, by an enlargement of the prostate gland.

Immunological Reactions: Sometimes antibodies in the blood or combinations of antibodies and antigens become deposited in the glomeruli of the kidney. When this process is acute (acute glomerulonephritis), the affected tissues heal completely. When the condition persists (chronic glomerulonephritis or chronic Bright’s disease), it may permanently obliterate the glomeruli, causing kidney failure. Both the source of the antibody combinations and the cause of their reactivity with the glomeruli are not known.

Circulatory Disorders: Prolonged high blood pressure causes a degeneration and a closing of the small arteries in the kidney. Prolonged diabetes mellitus often causes both a closing of the small arteries and an obliteration of the glomeruli. As a result of these conditions, irreversible kidney failure is caused by a loss of blood to the kidney cells and an impairment in filtration.

Toxins: The kidneys are subject to poisoning by many substances, including mercuric chloride, which is used in insecticides, disinfectants, and other substances; ethylene glycol, which is used in antifreeze, dye solvents, and other products; and carbon tetrachloride, which is a common dry-cleaning solution. These toxic chemicals severely damage or kill the cells of the nephron tubules. Although most patients recover from kidney poisoning, kidney failure sometimes results if the damage has been excessive.

Kidney Stones: Sometimes relatively insoluble materials in the urine may precipitate out instead of remaining dissolved in the urine until it is eliminated. Examples of these materials include calcium and magnesium phosphates, calcium oxalate, and the amino acid cystine. If the precipitated material accumulates and becomes compacted, it forms hard masses called kidney stones. Stones usually form in the kidney pelvis although they sometimes pass through the ureter to the bladder. If the stones are not surgically removed or dissolved by drugs, they may lead to infections of the kidney or eventually completely obstruct the flow of urine from the kidney.

Shock: Following severe or prolonged shock, particularly from injuries or burns, the kidney often fails to form urine because of damage to the tubules. After one to three weeks of suppressed urine formation, recovery is usually complete. A similar kind of kidney failure may occur after an extensive destruction of red blood cells, whether or not shock has occurred.

Disorders of Metabolism: The kidney may be adversely affected and sometimes fail completely because of a wide variety of metabolic disorders. Examples of such disorders are severe depletion of body potassium, excessive blood calcium, and disturbances in the metabolism of blood proteins.

Congenital Disorders: A variety of kidney disorders are caused by a failure of the kidneys to develop properly. Examples of such congenital disorders are polycystic kidneys, in which the kidneys contain many nodes or cysts, and hypoplastic, or underdeveloped, kidneys.

Cancer: Several relatively rare forms of cancer may arise in kidney tissue. These cancers are more abundant in children and young adults than in older people.

***This article is for informational purposes only. It is not a doctor warning or recommendation.

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