Your kidneys are one of the most vital organs of your body. These bean-shaped organs, which are located on either side of your spine, remove waste products and excess fluid. They also play a vital role in regulating your body’s salt, potassium, and acid content.
When your kidneys are damaged, your body’s ability to filter and excrete waste can be affected. This can lead to an accumulation of waste products and excess fluid.
Causes of Kidney Disease
There are several possible causes of kidney disease.
When your kidneys suddenly stop functioning (a condition referred to as acute renal failure), it can be due to:
- insufficient blood supply to the kidneys
- direct damage to the kidneys
- urine backing up in the kidneys
These things can happen as a result of traumatic injury, septic shock, dehydration, enlargement of the prostate, complications of pregnancy such as eclampsia and pre-eclampsia, and side effects of certain drugs.
Auto-immune conditions can also cause acute renal failure.
When the kidneys fail to function for longer than three months, it is considered chronic kidney failure.
Chronic kidney disease is often a complication of diabetes and high blood pressure.
Symptoms of Kidney Disease
The most common symptoms of acute kidney disease are nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath, swelling due to fluid retention, and decreased urinary output.
If you have chronic kidney disease, you may not notice any symptoms until you get into the advanced stage.
During the advanced stage of chronic kidney disease, you may experience the following:
- change in the frequency of urination (you may pee more or less often)
- swelling around the ankles and puffiness around the eyes
- shortness of breath
- loss of appetite
- dry, itchy skin
- muscle weakness
- sleep problems
When to See a Doctor
See your doctor as soon as you can when you notice any of the symptoms above.
When left unmanaged, kidney disease can lead to more serious health issues like heart disease, bone disease, and metabolic acidosis.
Treating Kidney Disease
Treatment for kidney disease depends on its underlying cause.
If it’s a result of other chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension, your doctor may advise you on how to manage these conditions. It may be through diet, medications, or a combination of both.
When you already have kidney disease, you may be put on a special diet that’s low in sodium, protein, potassium, and phosphate. This is to keep your damaged kidneys from working harder. Because of this, you may also be referred to as a renal dietitian.
If your kidneys don’t work well anymore, you’ll need dialysis to prevent the accumulation of waste and fluid in your body.
In hemodialysis, a device with a mechanical filter is used to help clean your blood. Hemodialysis or vascular access allows the blood to travel to the dialysis machine. An access is placed during a minor surgery. Premier Surgical Associates of Knoxville has a team of vascular surgeons who place and manage vascular access accesses for kidney patients.
Premier Surgical has a dedicated Vascular Access RN, who works directly with dialysis clinics to serve patients with kidney disease.
Kidney disease shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should see a specialist immediately. For more information about the Premier Surgical Vascular Access Center on Papermill Drive, please visit https://www.premiersurgical.com/premier-surgical-services/vascular-access/.