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Kidney Diseases

Kidney Diseases

Every human has two kidneys. Each kidney is capable of sustaining life independently. Kidneys are located on either side of the spine at the level of the rib cage. Kidneys convert over 1500 liters of blood per day into about 1.2 to 1.5 liters of concerted urine. (The rate of urine formation is about 1 ml/min.)

In an adult of normal weight (60-65) about 1200ml of blood flows through both kidneys every minute. (This is about 20-25 % of heat output). The urine is removed from the kidney by the URETERS (two twin tubes) and stored in the BLADDER and discharged through URETHRA (intervals).

The main function of the urinary system is the REMOVAL OF LIQUID WASTE PRODUCTS from the body. This is done to a certain extent by the skin also. The kidney also moves excess water from our body and maintains normal salt and water balance.

Kidney Disease – Warning Signs & Symptoms

  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Frequent and excessive urination (especially at the night-time)
  • Blood in the urine (brown or coffee colour)
  • Puffiness or edema on face and body
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Asymptomatic

Contact your doctor if you notice any of the above. The doctor would advise you further on investigation and treatment. Kidney disease is detected only when you go for a urine/blood check-up.

Kidney Failure – Warning Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms of kidney failure are so general that most of the time they are not suspected as threatening.

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Anaemia
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Skin itching
  • Increase/decreased frequency of urination (especially at night)
  • Lower back pain
  • Swelling of face and leg
  • Physical weakness

Types of kidney failure

  1. Acute Kidney Failure (Reversible)

Kidneys fail suddenly over a short time due to –

  • Dehydration (due to severe diarrhoea or vomiting).
  • Sudden/significant drop in blood pressure.
  • Massive Bleeding
  • Acute glomerulonephritis
  • Snakebite
  • Drug overdose
  • Food Poisoning etc.

This is generally reversible and the kidney recovers in a matter of three days to three week’s time. Till kidney function recovers, the patient should be under observation and may require hospitalization for a few days and might require a few sessions of dialysis.

  1. Chronic Kidney Disease (Irreversible):

Common causes:

  • Long-standing diabetes
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure for a long time
  • Chronic glomerulonephritis
  • Chronic infection of kidney pyelonephritis.
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Frequent stone formation in the urinary tract
  • Enlarged prostate gland.
  • Excessive use of medicines over years (mainly painkillers)

How to prevent kidney failure?

  • Proper treatment of diabetes for diabetic patient
  • The normal blood sugar level is 80 to 120 mgs%. Tight control of diabetes can prevent kidney failure.
  • Regular check-up of blood pressure
  • The normal level is 120/80 mm of hg. If high blood pressure is present, control it with salt restriction and medicines as per doctor’s service
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