Patients Guide

Nephrology

Who is at risk for kidney disease?

Kidney problem symptoms generally develop over a period of years. Our kidneys perform many vital functions that help maintain overall health.
But if the blood vessels in the kidneys are damaged, the kidneys will not clean the blood properly and 

Swelling around the face, eyes, feet and ankles
Pain or a burning sensation during urination 
Fever
Need to urinate more frequently
Problems controlling urination
Blood in the urine

and salt than it should, leading to weight gain.
Here are common symptoms of kidney problems:

Here are some tips for helping support kidney health and avoiding kidney problem symptoms...

1. Drink Plenty of Liquids - you may already know that drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water each day is good for overall health. When you don't drink enough liquids, toxins can build up in the body when there isn't enough water pressure to push them through to the urinary tract for excretion (healthy bowel function also requires sufficient body liquids). The kidneys are designed to perform as a filter, removing undesirable substances from the body on an on-going basis. The best liquid to drink is pure, clear water that's had the chlorine removed.

2. Reduce or Avoid Caffeine - a cup or two of coffee may not be bad for many people, but drinking coffee does not help your kidneys. Remember that caffeine is also found in many soft drinks and sports drinks. Caffeine acts as a diuretic which causes the body to lose fluids excessively. Being dehydrated results in your kidneys having to work harder to pump out fluid and toxins. Too much caffeine isn't good for your body in many ways, and stressing the kidneys is one of them.

3. Cushion Your Body When Driving or Operating Equipment - road bumps, potholes and rough terrain transmit vibrations through the vehicle into the body, resulting in kidney bruising and damage. Occupations at risk for kidney damage include persons who regularly spend many hours absorbing road vibrations such as taxi drivers, truck drivers and mechanized equipment operators. Adding a quality seat cushion to the driver's or operator's vehicle seat can reduce the vibrations that the body receives.

4. Take Frequent Breaks - if you sit at work, get up often and move around. If you drive a lot for long periods of time, park your vehicle, get out and stretch your legs. Doing so is not only good for your kidneys, it's great for general circulation and other organs. You'll likely find getting out of the vehicle clears your head as well and how bad can that be!

5. When Nature Calls, Act Promptly - whether you need to urinate or have a bowel movement, when you need to go, don't delay. Postponing elimination means the kidneys (or bowels) will begin reabsorbing the very toxins they're trying to pass out of the body. Early kidney disease has no kidney problem symptoms, however, it can become kidney failure with little or no warning if left undetected. Kidney disease results from damage to the nephrons which are tiny structures inside the kidneys that filter blood. A kidney condition called nephrotoxicity occurs when the body is exposed to a toxin or drug that damages the kidneys. When kidney damage happens, you cannot rid your body of excess urine and wastes. Blood electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium become elevated and creatinine levels in the blood will also be elevated. Nephrotoxicity can be temporary due to dehydration or you may be developing kidney failure.

The two main causes of Kidney Failure: Diabetes and high blood pressure are two main causes of kidney failure. Many people know that they have these diseases, but they may not know that they are at risk for kidney disease. Usually the damage happens gradually over years and in both kidneys. Since there may not be obvious symptoms of kidney problems, you're not aware it's happening. In diabetes, the body doesn't use glucose very well. If you have diabetes, you can prevent kidney disease by keeping your blood sugar levels under control. High blood pressure can damage the small blood vessels in your kidneys. When this happens, your kidneys cannot filter wastes from your blood very well.
Be kind to your kidneys by following the kidney health recommendations above. If you're kind to your kidneys, they'll be kind to you and perform without complaining for many years to come.

 

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