Did you know that the kidneys not only remove waste and extra fluid from the body, but also help maintain a healthy balance of water, salts, and minerals in the blood, thereby enabling nerves, muscles, and other tissues to work normally?Not only that, but the kidneys produce certain hormones that help control blood pressure, create red blood cells, and keep bones strong and healthy.
Your kidneys can be vulnerable to certain concerning – and, in some cases, life-threatening conditions. These include:
- Chronic kidney disease (CKD)is the most common form of kidney problems. It occurs when the kidneys are damaged and cannot filter blood the way they should. You may be prone to developing CKD if you are diabetic, have high blood pressure, heart disease, or a family history of kidney failure. Symptoms of CKD include swollen ankles, weight loss and poor appetite, fatigue, increased need to urine, and blood in the urine. The best way to manage CKD is by adopting healthy lifestyle habits and controlling your blood pressure.
- Kidney stones are another common kidney problem. These are solid, pebble-like pieces of material that form in one or both of the kidneys when high levels of certain minerals are present in the urine. Signs that you may have a kidney stone including feeling a sharp, persistent pain in your back, side, lower abdomen, or groin or having blood in your urine. If the stone is small, it can easily pass through the urinary tract.If not, your health care provider may need to treat the kidney stones by breaking them into small pieces with shockwave therapy or laser lithotripsy, or by removing it with ureteroscopic surgery. You can help prevent kidney stones by drinking plenty of water, changing your eating habits, or taking certain medicines.
- Kidney Infection (Pyelonephritis) is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) caused by bacteria or viruses that often start in the bladder and move upstream to one or both of the kidneys. Symptoms of kidney infection may vary depending on your age but often include chills, fever, and painful urination. Pyelonephritis is treated with antibiotics taken for 14 days.
- Glomerulonephritis occurs when the kidneys’ filters become inflamed and scarred, slowly losing their ability to remove waste and excess fluid from the blood to produce urine. It can be caused by toxins or medicines, viral or bacterial infections, IgA nephropathy, or lupus-related kidney inflammation. Treatment may include blood pressure medicines such as ACE inhibitors, which protect blood flow into the kidneys, corticosteroids to decrease inflammation, diuretics to remove excess fluid in the body through more urine production, dietary changes such as eating less protein, sodium, and potassium, dialysis to remove wastes and fluid from your blood once the kidneys stop working, or a kidney transplant.
- Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited disorder in which cysts (noncancerous round sacs containing fluid) develop within the kidneys, causing them to enlarge and lose function over time. Treatment for PKD includes medication to control blood pressure, pain relievers, cyst removal and, if necessary, a kidney transplant.
- Renal artery stenosis (RAS) is a condition in which one or both of the renal blood vessels that carry blood to the kidneys from the heart narrow, preventing enough oxygen-rich plasma from reaching the kidneys. Treatment for RAS includes lifestyle changes, medications, and surgery to relieve the blockage of the renal arteries.
- Nephrotic syndrome is a condition in whichthe body passes too much protein in the urine.It is usually caused by damage to the small blood vessels in the kidneys that filter waste and excess water from the blood, resulting in swelling, particularly in the feet and ankles, and increasing the risk of infections and blood clots. Nephrotic syndrome is dealt with by treating the conditions that’s causing it with medications and dietary changes designed to prevent complications.
- Fabry disease is another inherited disorder in which lipids build up to harmful levels in the body’s autonomic nervous system (which controls involuntary functions such as breathing and heartbeat), causing damaging to the heart, kidneys, and brain. The disease primarily affects males, although a milder and mor variable form of Fabry disease is common in females. Treatment includes enzyme replacement to reduce lipid storage, while drugs are often prescribed to treat the pain associated with the disease.
- Interstitial nephritis is a condition in which inflammation within the kidneys lowers their ability to clean the blood and produce urine. Since it is usually caused by a reaction to a certain medication, the problem can be solved by simply suspending use of that medicine.
- Kidney cysts occur when blood tubes in the kidney expand, fill with fluid, and impair kidney function. Simple kidney cysts are not cancerous and rarely cause problems.A larger cyst, however, may need to be pierced, drained, and filled with an alcohol or chemical solution to help prevent the cyst from filling with fluid again. In serious cases, surgical removal of the cyst may be required.
Top-Quality Nephrologist in Syracuse, New York
The board-certified nephrologists at the Department of Medicine at SUNY: Upstate Medical University are experts in disorders and diseases affecting the kidneys, providing care to adult patients with appropriate treatment and a comprehensive dialysis program for those patients with chronic renal failure.