Kidneys are fist-sized organs located below the rib cage, on both sides of the spine. Good Kidney function is vital for survival of the human body. Kidneys filter waste products, excess water, and other toxins from the blood. These waste products are stored in the bladder and later expelled through urine. The kidneys regulate pH, salt, and potassium levels in the body. They also produce hormones that help in blood pressure regulation and control the production of red blood cells. In case there is any kidney infection such as kidney stones, cyst or pain, it is important to get it checked at once.
Kidneys are also responsible for activating a form of vitamin D that helps the body absorb calcium for building bones and regulating muscle function. Hence, by keeping kidneys healthy, your body will filter and expel waste properly and produce hormones to help your body function properly.
Burning Questions about Kidney Health –
Which is the best way to check for kidney health?
A blood test is the first step to check for kidney health.
What are the main symptoms of Kidney Stones?
Severe Pain, Nausea, Vomiting, Chills, Fever and Blood in Urine is an indicator of Kidney Stones.
How can Kidney Stones Go Away?
Kidney Stones can go away by drinking a lot of water, taking pain relievers and medication.
What are the Main Kidney Functions?
The primary kidney functions are –
- Remove waste products from the body.
- Balance the body’s fluids.
- Release hormones that regulate blood pressure.
- Produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones.
- Control the production of red blood cells.
What Causes Poor Kidney Function?
Below are some causes of poor kidney function –
- Blood or fluid loss.
- Blood pressure medications.
- Heart attack.
- Heart disease.
- Liver failure.
- Use of aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen sodium (Aleve, others) or related drugs.
How do I know if I have a Kidney Infection?
If you experience back pain, fever or get chills, you need to get tested for kidney infection.
What is the difference between UTI and a Kidney Infection?
UTI happens when the bacteria affect the bladder. However, if it travels up to the kidneys and infects them, it is termed as a kidney infection.
How long does it take to recover from a kidney infection?
It takes about 2 weeks to recover from a kidney infection in case of timely diagnosis and proper antibiotics. In case there is another underlying problem, it may also take longer.
What Causes Kidney Cysts?
An injury or microscopic blockages in the tubules may cause kidney cysts.
Are simple Kidney Cysts Cancerous?
No, Simple Kidney Cysts are not cancerous.
What causes Kidney Pain?
- Bleeding in the kidney (hemorrhage)
- Blood clots in kidney veins (renal vein thrombosis)
What does Kidney Pain usually indicate?
Kidney Pain usually indicates kidney stones or a kidney infection.
Healthy Kidney Function –
For a good kidney function, certain things need to be followed regularly –
- Exercise Regularly.
- Don’t overuse Pain Killers.
- Manage your Weight.
- Get an Annual Health Check-up.
- Follow a Healthy Diet.
- Know your family’s medical history
- Monitor blood pressure & cholesterol
- Gain Knowledge about Kidney Infection.
- Don’t smoke or abuse alcohol
- Talk to your doctor about getting tested if you’re at risk for CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease)
Stay Physically Active
Regular exercise is good for more than just your figure. It can lower the risk of chronic kidney disease or kidney pain. It can also reduce your blood pressure and boost your heart health.
These are extremely both important to prevent kidney damage.
Control your Blood Sugar
People with diabetes, or a condition that causes high blood sugar, may be at a high risk to develop kidney damage. When your body’s cells cannot process the glucose (sugar) in your blood, your kidneys are forced to work extra hard to filter your blood. Over years of exertion, this can lead to severe damage.
Monitor your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can cause severe kidney damage. If high blood pressure occurs with other health issues like diabetes, heart issues, or high cholesterol, the effect on your body can be significant.
Monitor Weight and Take a Healthy Diet
People who are overweight or obese are at risk for a number of health conditions that can damage the kidneys. These include diabetes, heart disease, and kidney infection.
Drink plenty of Fluids
Drinking at least 2 – 3 Litres of water every day is ideal for good kidney function. Regular, consistent water intake is healthy for your kidneys and keeps away kidney stones.
Smoking greatly damages your body’s blood vessels.
This leads to lesser blood flow throughout your body and to your kidneys.
Get your Kidney Function tested if you’re at high risk
If you’re at high risk of kidney damage or kidney disease, it’s a good idea to have regular kidney function tests. The following people may benefit from regular screening:
- Those over 60 years old
- Individuals who were born at a low birth weight
- Those who have cardiovascular disease
- People who have a family history of high blood pressure
- Those who are obese
Types of Kidney Disease –
Chronic Kidney Disease
The most common form of kidney damage is chronic kidney disease. A major cause of chronic kidney disease is high blood pressure. If your kidneys are constantly processing your body’s blood, they’re exposed to about 20 percent of your total volume of blood every minute. High blood pressure is harmful for your kidneys because it can lead to increased pressure on the glomeruli, the functional units of your kidney.
Diabetes is another major cause of chronic kidney disease. Over time, uncontrolled blood sugar levels will gradually damage the kidney, also leading to kidney failure.
Another widely common kidney problem is kidney stones. Minerals and other substances in your blood can crystallize in the kidneys, forming solid particles, or stones, that usually pass out of your body in urine. Passing kidney stones can be extremely painful, but rarely causes major problems.
Glomerulonephritis is an inflammation of the glomeruli – the microscopic structures inside your kidneys that perform the filtration of blood.
Glomerulonephritis can be caused by body infections, drug usage, congenital abnormalities, and autoimmune diseases. This issue may improve on its own or require immunosuppressive medications.
Polycystic Kidney Disease
Individual kidney cysts are common and usually harmless, but polycystic kidney disease is a separate, more serious condition.
Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder that causes multiple cysts, round sacs of fluid, to grow inside and on the surfaces of your kidneys, interfering with kidney function.
Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary tract infections are bacterial infections of any of your urinary system. Infections in the bladder and urethra are most common. They’re generally easily treatable and rarely have any long-term consequences.
However, if left untreated, these infections can spread to the kidneys and lead to kidney failure.