Our kidneys are the organs that remove the waste and unnecessary fluids from our bodies, and they also help to regulate the amount of sodium and minerals in our blood, as well as help to keep blood pressure regulated. Those who are healthy have kidneys that do their jobs properly. But there are millions of people who are affected by kidney disease, which occurs when our kidneys are not doing what they are supposed to be doing. There are two types of KD, acute or renal kidney failure and chronic kidney failure.
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Acute Kidney Failure: This is the type of kidney failure that can happen all of the sudden, or in a matter of a few days and is often the result of some sort of trauma or injury where there was a lot of blood lost.
Chronic Kidney Failure: This is the kidney failure that develops over time, often months, and is the more dangerous of the two types of kidney disease. This type of KD is often hard to detect, because many of the symptoms either go unnoticed, or are attributed to something else. Chronic kidney failure can be fatal, and early detection is the key to getting the proper treatment in time.
Symptoms of Kidney Disease
There are many symptoms of kidney disease that can often be so minor that they go unnoticed until it is too late and the disease has progressed. One of the most commonly seen symptoms of kidney disease is an increased need to urinate. And in addition to urinating more frequently, there are often changes in the urine itself, including the color and odor. Sometimes, instead of frequent urination, a person with KD actually urinates less frequently than normal and the color of the urine is a very pale yellow. Other symptoms that involve urination include painful urination, blood in the urine, foamy or bubbly urine, and difficulty urinating.
Another symptom of kidney disease is swelling, which can also go unnoticed, especially in the hotter summer months when many people tend to get swollen ankles and hands. The swelling is the result of a fluid buildup, due to the kidneys' inability to remove the unnecessary fluids from the body. In addition to swelling in the hands and feet, swelling may also be noticed in the legs and face.
Fatigue is a symptom of kidney disease that often goes unnoticed and is sometimes attributed to changes in sleep patterns or work schedules. The kidneys produce a hormone called erythropoietin, which make the body create red blood cells that carry oxygen throughout the body. When the kidneys are unable to produce these cells, it sends a message to the brain, telling it that you are tired. When this happens, a person is considered to be anemic.
There are many other symptoms of kidney disease that a lot of people may think are something else all together. Often, the kidneys' inability to remove waste from the body causes skin rashes and itching, and a person with KD may feel cold all the time. Vomiting is another common symptom, as well as dizziness, trouble concentrating, irritability, shortness of breath, and leg pain.
Are You at Risk of Developing Kidney Disease?
There are a number of factors that could put you at risk of developing kidney disease, including your age, your family history, if you have diabetes or heart disease, if you have hypertension (high blood pressure), and even your race.
- Age: If you are over the age of 60, you are at a greater risk of developing KD than someone who is younger.
- Family History: There are kidney diseases that are genetic, and if you have a family history of these types of kidney disease, you may be at risk of developing them yourself.
- Diabetes: This is actually the most common cause of kidney disease, so if you are a diabetic, it is especially important that you take care of yourself, including following a healthy diet.
- Heart Disease: Anyone with a heart condition, including those who have had heart attacks, are at a greater risk of developing KD than others who have healthy hearts. If you have any heart problems, make sure that you are also monitored for kidney disease, because it is best to catch it in the early stages for treatment.
- Hypertension: The second leading cause of kidney disease is high blood pressure. Your risk can be lowered of if you take care of yourself and eat the right foods. If you have hypertension, it may be necessary for you to take certain medications which will help the condition and help keep you from developing other diseases, including KD.
- Race: There are certain ethnic groups that have a much higher risk of developing kidney disease than others. These groups include Native Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Get Enough Protein in Your Diet, But Not Too Much
Although it is important to make sure that you are getting enough protein in your diet, you also need to remember that too much protein is just as unhealthy as not enough. There are a number of health conditions that can arise when you have too much protein in your diet, including kidney disease, and monitoring how much protein you have in your diet, you can help to eliminate one of the risk factors of developing kidney disease.
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