Kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, located near the middle of the back, just beneath the rib cage. Inside each kidney there are about a million minuscule structures called nephrons which filter blood. They take out waste products from blood, which in the form of urine flows through tubes to the bladder, which stores the urine. Damage to the nephrons results in kidney disease. Generally the damage occurs gradually over the years.
There are different types of kidney disease, some of which are worse than others. Kidney disease may be "acute" or "chronic". Both kinds of kidney disease can be due to medications, toxins, infections or autoimmune disorders. Ailments like diabetes and high blood pressure can slowly but surely worsen the function of the kidneys. Different types of kidney diseases can be characterized as hereditary, congenital or acquired.
Hereditary diseases can be transmitted to both males and females, and usually show symptoms from teenage years to adulthood. The most common hereditary kidney disease is polycystic kidney disease. Other hereditary diseases include hereditary nephritis, primary hyperoxaluria and cystinuria.
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Congenital means present at birth, so generally refers to those abnormalities that are
permanent birth defects.Â Congenital disease usually involves some abnormality of the genitourinary tract, usually leading to some type of obstruction (as in hydronephrosis with obstruction) which subsequently produces infection or damage of kidney tissue. The damage eventually steps forward to chronic kidney failure. Other congenital diseases are parenchymal disease, hydronephrosis without obstruction, including vesicoureteral reflux.
Acquired kidney diseases are so many, the general term being nephritis (meaning inflammation of the kidney). The most common type of nephritis is glomerulonephritis. Many people with chronic kidney disease develop acquired cystic kidney disease (ACKD), a condition in which the kidneys develop fluid-filled sacs called renal cysts. The cysts are more likely to develop in people who are on hemo-dialysis or peritoneal-dialysis. Though dialysis does not cause the cysts, the risk of developing ACKD increases with the number of years a person is on dialysis.
The presence of kidney stones is a very common kidney disease. This happens when a person secretes too much calcium oxalate into the urine and doesn't drink enough water. Uric acid also causes the problem of kidney stones. The calcium oxalate or the uric acid precipitates into a stone in the urinary area of the kidneys. When the stone passes, the pain can be extremely severe in the side and back. The pain can appear suddenly and in waves, and then disappear quickly when the stone is passed.
A cancerous disease called 'renal cell carcinoma' is a type of kidney disease that can occur spontaneously. The cancer can cause pain or bleeding in the area of the kidneys. If the cancer doesn't extend beyond the outer capsule of the kidney, it is highly treatable. This disease can be detected by help of a CT scan.
Failure of kidney because of diabetes is has become very widespread these days. The deterioration that characterizes the kidney disease of diabetes takes place in and around the blood-filtering units of the kidneys. Early in the disease, the filtering effectiveness diminishes, and vital proteins in the blood are lost in the urine. Later in the disease, the kidneys lose their capability to remove waste products, such as creatinine and urea, from the blood. Measurement of these waste products in the blood gives an indication of how far kidney disease has progressed. Symptoms related to kidneyÂ failure usually occur only in late stages of the disease, when kidney function has diminished to less than 20 to 25 percent of normal capacity. For many years before that point, the kidneyÂ disease of diabetes is a silent process.
Diet and Kidney Problems
Once a kidney problem has developed, prompt identification and action facilitate the restoration of optimal renal function. But kidney patients are at higher risk for more severe illness if non-recommended or contaminated foods are consumed.Â Kidneys require a diet filled with foods known to reduce the oxidation of fats and cholesterol. Actually the oxidation of fats and cholesterol creates molecules referred to as free radicals, which damage the body. These free radicals can be neutralized by foods containing antioxidants. Therefore antioxidant-rich foods promote healthy kidney function. In addition to this, a diet for enhancing and restoration of kidney functions is one that is low in protein, phosphorous and sodium.
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Many people with kidney problems suffer from anemia. One of the causes of anemia is a low level of iron in the body. If you have low iron levels you may need to take iron rich foods. Calcium affects the health of the bones. When a person has kidney problem, the calcium level in their body tends to be too low. Therefore calcium rich food is must for such patients. If potassium levels in the blood are too high, the heart can stop beating. Low potassium levels may cause arrhythmias. Patients with kidney problems have to avoid such high-potassium foods as chocolate, and moderate their intake of other potassium-containing foods such as bananas. Intake of sodium should be taken care of. Vitamins B and C are lost because of kidney problems. So the diet for kidney health must be full of vitamins. There are certain foods that can be suggested as the perfect diet in context of kidney problems. Here are a few:
Cabbage is full of the chemical compounds that break up free radicals before they can do damage. High in vitamin K, vitamin C and fiber, cabbage is also a good source of vitamin B6 and folic acid. Low in potassium, it's an inexpensive addition to the kidney diet.
Red peppers are very low in potassium which makes them an ideal food to include in the diet for healthy kidneys. Full of folic acid and fiber, red peppers are delicious eaten raw as a snack or diced and tossed with a green salad. Roasted red peppers are a perfect addition to a wrap sandwich or as part of an omelet.
Garlic helps in reducing inflammation.Â One can take it fresh, minced or powdered, and can add it to the meal. Garlic provides a delicious flavor and garlic powder is a great substitute for garlic salt in kidney diet.
Apples can be termed as an excellent healthy kidney diet. They are filled with anti-inflammatory compounds which are crucial to a healthy kidney. One must eat the skin. The skin of the apple is replete with soluble fiber.
Cauliflower is high in vitamin C and a good source of folate and fiber. It's also full of compounds that help the liver neutralize toxic substances that could damage cell membranes. It is a good food in case of kidney problems.
Fish provides high-quality protein and contains anti-inflammatory fats called omega-3s. The healthy fats in fish help fight diseases. The fatty acids reduce inflammation, which makes them very kidney friendly.