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The Most Common Kidney Health Problems

Thursday, March 21, 2019

While the kidneys may only be about the size of your fist, these bean-shaped organs are vital to the function of your body. Healthy kidneys filter about a half cup of blood every minute, remove waste, and produce urine.

“About 14 percent of people will experience a form of kidney disease in their lifetime,” SouthCoast Health Nephrologist Dr. Nizar Eskandar stated. “It’s important to know that kidney disease is a general medical term for the multiple health conditions that can eventually cause kidney failure. Some of the most common are high blood pressure and diabetes, but there’s a long list that can affect you or a loved one.”

We’re explaining some of the most common kidney problems that people can experience below!

Diabetic Nephropathy

The most common kidney disease in the United States. This is also known as diabetic kidney disease, and it causes the chronic loss of kidneys for those who have diabetes mellitus. Common symptoms for this disease are nocturia (otherwise known as frequent urination during the nighttime), tiredness, headaches, feeling ill, nausea, vomiting, frequent daytime urination, lack of appetite, itchy skin, and leg swelling.

Hypertensive Nephropathy

Second most common kidney disease in the United States. This also known as hypertensive kidney disease, and it causes the chronic loss of kidneys for those who have uncontrolled hypertension. Common symptoms for this disease are headache, blurred vision, feeling ill, nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, leg swelling, and itchy skin.

Kidney Stones

There are more than 200,000 cases of kidney stones in the United States per year, and men have a 13 percent chance of receiving one while women have a seven percent chance. This painful medical condition occurs when small, hard deposits form in the kidney and must be passed through the ureter and into the bladder.

Symptoms include sudden and sharp pain in the back side of the body, pain while urinating, nausea or vomiting, blood in the urine, and increased sweating.

Glomerulonephritis

This covers a group of diseases that harm the glomeruli in the kidneys, which is the part that filters blood. There are two types: acute and chronic. Unfortunately, if untreated, the kidneys may eventually stop functioning.

The most common symptoms are puffiness in the face in the morning, blood in the urine, urinating less than usual, blood in the protein, high blood pressure, swelling in the ankles and face, frequent nighttime urination, and bubbly or foamy urine.

IgA Nephropathy (Berger’s Disease)

Berger’s Disease is a kidney disease that occurs when immunoglobulin A, or IgA for short, lodges into your kidneys. Since this is an antibody stuck in your organ, it will eventually cause inflammation over time and may cause your kidney’s ability to filter wastes from your blood to falter.

Symptoms for this disease are cola or tea-colored urine, pain in the sides of your back below the ribs, swelling in the hands and feet, and high blood pressure.

Minimal Change Disease

Otherwise known as MCD, this is a kidney disease that causes a large amount of protein to be lost in the urine. This is a problem when the protein isn’t filtered back into your body and instead is lost through urine. The most common version of this is Nephrotic Syndrome.

The most common symptom is swelling in the feet and legs, but might also move to the hips and abdomen. In addition, symptoms include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and an increase in blood clots.

Polycystic Kidney Disease or PKD

The most common Genetic disorder. This is an inherited disorder that causes a cluster of cysts to develop in the kidneys. Though these tend to be non-cancerous, they can grow very large and eventually cause total kidney failure. The key indicators that someone might have this are high blood pressure, back or side pain, a swollen abdomen, fatigue syndrome, kidney damage, and blood in the urine.

Alport Syndrome

Alport Syndrome is a genetic condition that causes kidney disease, hearing loss, and eye abnormalities. Symptoms usually involve blood in the urine, protein in the urine, swelling, bone weakening, joint pain, and more. If patients do not receive treatment for this, unfortunately, they will most likely die from end-stage renal disease.

The good news is that this disease is rare!

Fabry Disease

This is another rare disease, but it can potentially happen to anybody. It’s a rare, genetic disorder that is caused by a defective gene, the GLA gene, that causes a deficient quantity of the enzyme alpha-galactosidase A. What that means is that the gene that is in control of the metabolism of fatty substances is not able to function properly.

Symptoms include episodes of pain usually in the hands and feet, clusters of small, dark red spots on the skin, a decreased ability to sweat, cloudiness of the front part of the eye, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss. Unfortunately, sometimes life-threatening complications like progressive kidney damage, heart attack, and stroke may occur.

If you have any further questions or concerns about the health of your kidneys, contact SouthCoast Health by clicking here.


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