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Kingston, Massachusetts, United States

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

February 22, 2011

As I have been writing, I have been hearing from others around the world about how kidney disease has affected them or their family members.  I have to be honest, I think I have been ignorant, or at the very least na├»ve, about the many causes of kidney disease.

As you know, my kidney disease and the need for a transplant is a direct result of having Diabetes for so many years, coupled with high blood pressure. I learned recently that your kidneys can become damaged from Tuberculosis (TB) and Lupus.  The shear number of people with kidney disease is staggering...add to that the number of those with kidney disease that require, or will require, a transplant and the numbers just mind boggling.

So it got me to thinking about how else your kidneys can be damaged, leading to kidney disease, and ultimately the possibility of needing a kidney transplant.  So, I went about searching and found some interesting information…now what am about to share with you is not gospel, I am not a doctor, but if you have any of these conditions, do yourself a favor and get it checked out.  The list I have here is also probably incomplete.  The best advice I could give you, is get a full physical from your doctor…that way they can look at a whole host of things from kidney disease, to heart disease, to Diabetes, etc.
According to the National Kidney Foundation’s website, other conditions that affect the kidneys are:
·         Glomerulonephritis, a group of diseases that cause inflammation and damage to the kidney's filtering units. These disorders are the third most common type of kidney disease.
·         Inherited diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease, which causes large cysts to form in the kidneys and damage the surrounding tissue.
·         Malformations that occur as a baby develops in its mother's womb. For example, a narrowing may occur that prevents normal outflow of urine and causes urine to flow back up to the kidney. This causes infections and may damage the kidneys.
·         Lupus and other diseases that affect the body's immune system.
·         Obstructions caused by problems like kidney stones, tumors or an enlarged prostate gland in men.
·         Repeated urinary infections.
And this from Medicinenet.com:
Kidney failure can occur from an acute situation or from chronic problems.
In acute renal failure, kidney function is lost rapidly and can occur from a variety of insults to the body. The list of causes is often categorized based on where the injury has occurred.
Prerenal causes (pre=before + renal=kidney) causes are due to decreased blood supply to the kidney. Examples of prerenal causes of kidney failure are:
  • hypovolemia (low blood volume) due to blood loss;
  • dehydration from loss of body fluid (for example, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, fever);
  • poor intake of fluids;
  • medication, for example, diuretics ("water pills") may cause excessive water loss; and
  • abnormal blood flow to and from the kidney due to obstruction of the renal artery or vein.
Renal causes of kidney failure (damage directly to the kidney itself) include:
  • Sepsis: The body's immune system is overwhelmed from infection and causes inflammation and shutdown of the kidneys. This usually does not occur with urinary tract infections.
  • Medications: Some medications are toxic to the kidney, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen. Others potentially toxic medications include antibiotics like aminoglycosides [gentamicin (Garamycin), tobramycin], lithium (Eskalith, Lithobid), iodine-containing medications such as those injected for radiology dye studies.
  • Rhabdomyolysis: This is a situation in which there is significant muscle breakdown in the body, and the damaged muscle fibers clog the filtering system of the kidneys. this can occur because of trauma, crush injuries, and burns. Some medications used to treat high cholesterol can cause rhabdomyolysis.
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Acute glomerulonephritis or inflammation of the glomeruli, the filtering system of the kidneys. Many diseases can cause this inflammation including systemic lupus erythematosus, Wegener's granulomatosis, and Goodpasture syndrome.
Post renal causes of kidney failure (post=after + renal= kidney) are due to factors that affect outflow of the urine:
  • Obstruction of the bladder or the ureters can cause back pressure because the kidneys continue to produce urine, but the obstruction acts like a dam, and urine backs up into the kidneys. When the pressure increases high enough, the kidneys are damaged and shut down.
  • Prostatic hypertrophy or prostate cancer may block the urethra and prevents the bladder from emptying.
  • Tumors in the abdomen that surround and obstruct the ureters.
  • Kidney stones. Usually, kidney stones affect only one kidney and do not cause kidney failure. However, if there is only one kidney present, a kidney stone may cause the lone kidney to fail.
Chronic renal failure develops over months and years. The most common causes of chronic renal failure are related to:
  • poorly controlled diabetes,
  • poorly controlled high blood pressure, and
  • chronic glomerulonephritis.
Less common causes of chronic renal failure include:
  • polycystic kidney disease,
  • reflux nephropathy,
  • kidney stones, and
  • prostate disease.
As you can see, there are a lot of different factors that can lead to kidney disease.  It would certainly be wise to schedule an appointment with your doctor sooner rather than later.  If any treatment is needed, it could, perhaps, slow the progression of your kidneys failing, and thus putting off a possible need for transplantation.

1 comment:

  1. Great information!! So many people don't realize how fragile our kidneys are. There are a great many OTC meds we just gobble up, never realizing how much damage we are doing to our kidneys. One small suggestion to the general public: You MUST stand up for yourselves and learn about your conditions so that you can protect yourself. If you are told you MUST have dye for a proceedure or the radiologist will not be able to read the films, THINK VERY CAREFULLY!! Make sure all your healthcare professionals are aware of your conditions. You can always say no, or at the very least ask," Is Dr so-n-so aware of my kidney disfunction? Would you mind putting out a call to double check?" What's a 5 minute delay when it could save kidney function?