Last month was Kidney Disease Awareness month. It is important to be aware of the disease because many Americans are suffering with it. There are currently 1 in 3 adults that risk developing kidney disease. So, what is kidney disease and what can we do to reduce our risk of it?
Kidneys regulate the body’s fluid levels. While regulating, they also filter the waste and toxins in the body. Your body does this filtering every 30 minutes. The kidneys activate the vitamin D, which promotes healthy bones and releases hormones into the production of red blood cells.
There are about 26 million Americans who have kidney disease, and many do not know they have it. Kidney disease is also called kidney failure and it is when a kidney gradually looses the loss of functioning. When the kidneys filter out the waste, our body disposes them in the urine. When the waste does not get filtered out, it can build up in the body.
The early stages of kidney disease may show a few symptoms but it may not be noticeable until the kidney function is significantly impaired. Symptoms that can occur once kidney disease has developed overtime are:
- Persistent itching
- Loss of appetite
- Sleep problems
- Swelling of feet and ankles
These symptoms can also be the cause of other illnesses also, so kidney disease symptoms are non-specific. The signs may not be present at first because the kidneys are able to adapt and compensate for the loss of function. When the damage is irreversible, many of the signs and symptoms tend to show.
The treatment of kidney disease is a very slow process because the kidney damage progression has to be slowed down. If chronic kidney disease has progressed to end-stage kidney failure than the only treatment is artificial filtering or a transplant.
Causes of Kidney Disease
There are several reasons why someone might be at risk for kidney disease.
- High blood pressure
- Type 1 or 2 diabetes
- Kidney infection
- Obstruction of urinary tract
- Inflammation of the kidney’s filtering units (Glomerulonephritis)