What Can I Do About Kidney Disease?
Kidneys can become damaged after an acute infection, exposure to toxins, a traumatic injury, an obstruction, or most often from chronic conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. The damage interferes with the kidneys’ ability to filter blood to remove waste and excess fluids. As the kidneys fail, the damaging waste products increase in the blood and fluids build up. Heart disease, stroke, and infections are also more common in patients with kidney disease.Most types of kidney disease are irreversible, but lowering the burden on the kidneys will slow further damage. Lifestyle changes and regular medical care are important steps. Keeping yourself in the best general health will also help keep your kidneys in the best health possible.
Kidney CareUnfortunately, a failing kidney does not give many signs it is in trouble. As a result, many people have a high degree of failure before attention is brought to it. Regular medical care will help you control or eliminate the risk of kidney damage and monitor kidney changes. If you have any of the common conditions below that lead to kidney damage it is important to get regular medical care:
- High blood pressure—Blood passes through filters in the kidney, which remove excess fluid and waste. High blood pressure puts too much stress on these filters and damages them. Fewer filters decrease the kidneys’ ability to function.
- Diabetes—The disease process often causes damage to smaller blood vessels. When smaller blood vessels in the kidney are damaged, blood cannot pass through to be filtered.
- Kidney disease—There are conditions that directly affect the kidney like infections, hereditary cystic disease, and inflammatory disease that can directly impair kidney function or damage kidney parts.
- Toxins—Certain toxins, typically from long-term exposure, damage the kidney. This can include alcohol, cocaine, heavy metals, and solvents. As the kidney tries to remove the toxin, it can be exposed to higher amounts.
- Renal artery stenosis—In arterial stenosis, blood vessels are narrowed and can become blocked. This impairs or even stops blood flow. If blood cannot pass through the kidneys it cannot be filtered.