Kidney Disease symptoms and treatment
Kidney diseases are a group of disorders that affect the kidneys. Each person is born with two kidneys that are responsible for filter waste from the body. They also produce specific hormones for the regulation of body systems and they regulate the chemical levels in the blood.
When a person suffers from kidney disease the symptoms they suffer are related to the specific functions that are impacted by the disease. For instance, in the majority of cases when the ability of the kidney to filter waste products has been decreased, the symptoms are related to the excess waste floating in the blood stream. The symptoms can also be related to hormonal balance or the balance of sodium and potassium – also regulated by the kidneys.
Fortunately the body has excess amount of kidney tissue needed to help care for the body. This means that we can live comfortably with only one kidney.
It also means that the symptoms of kidney disease may not show up until late in the disease process because the body is able to continue to function appropriately with less than both kidneys at optimal function.
6 Warning Signs
There are at least six warning signs that the kidneys are in distress and may indicate kidney disease. These include a burning or difficulty during urination, blood in the urine, high blood pressure, puffiness around the eyes, feet and hands, pain in the small of the back and an increased amount of urination.
Many of these symptoms are also symptoms of other problems so it is necessary that a diagnosis of your symptoms should be done by an experienced practitioner.
Other symptoms of kidney disease include fatigue, itching skin, easy bruising, headaches, numbness in the hands or feet, restless leg syndrome, chest pain, shortness of breath, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting or poor clotting.
For instance, high blood pressure may cause kidney disease or may be caused by kidney disease. Pain on urination with increased frequency can be a bladder infection. Increased amount of urine can be a result of diabetes.
It is only through a thorough evaluation of the symptoms, physical examination and testing that the practitioner is adequately able to determine the type of condition causing the symptoms and thus the appropriate treatment protocol.
The treatment of kidney disease is dependent upon the cause of the condition. In some cases, when the condition is caught early, there are lifestyle changes, medication and treatments that can successfully treat the condition. In other cases the disease may progress to advanced failure and require dialysis or kidney transplantation.
Treatment always includes dietary rules to help slow the progression and prevent more damage to the organ. The process of developing a dietary plan is individualized to the person and their specific circumstances.
Some general guidelines include to restrict protein intake because the kidneys help to filter the protein, restriction of salt and potassium and restrict the fluid intake that the kidneys must manage each day.
Sometimes patients are asked to weigh themselves twice daily to keep track of the amount of fluid they may be retaining from the kidney’s inability to filter out the excess fluid. When the body keeps the extra fluid it dilutes the amount of salt and potassium needed for the electrical systems in the heart.
Other treatment recommendations include to stop smoking and using alcohol or other recreational drugs. Patients should avoid becoming constipated but should also not use certain pain medications or laxatives that contain magnesium or aluminum because these substances are filtered through the kidneys.
Herbal medications also place the patient at risk because they are filtered through the kidneys and increase the work load of the organ. Conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels will also impact the treatment recommendations that are made.
When people learn kidney disease symptoms and treatment they are better able to watch their own health and participate in the treatment recommendations to help stabilize their condition.
American Kidney Fund: Take Charge of Your Kidney Health
National Kidney Foundation: How Your Kidneys Work
National Kidney Center: Symptoms
KidsHealth: Kidney Disease in Childhood
MayoClinic: Chronic Kidney Failure
Davita: Do You Have Symptoms of Kidney Disease