As small as they are, your kidneys are two of the most important organs in the body. Located toward your lower back, the kidneys filter your blood, remove toxins from your body and send them to your bladder from where it is removed via urination. So imagine what happens when a kidney failure occurs?
Kidney failure occurs when your kidneys lose the ability to filter waste from your blood sufficiently. When this happens, the body becomes overloaded with toxins and can be life-threatening if it’s left untreated.
Many factors can interfere with your kidney health and function, such as:
Ugh, again? Sadly, it’s the leading cause of kidney failure and when untreated, damages the kidney’s small blood vessels and filters. That makes it difficult for them to clean your blood. When this happens, the body holds on to more salt and water than it should and there’s more waste in system. This can cause urine to backup and harm your kidneys through pressure or infection.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
This occurs due to the unchecked effect of diseases like diabetes on the kidneys, causing permanent damage over time. If it gets worse and the kidneys are so damaged that they stop working, it’s called kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease(ESRD). Dialysis – using a machine to filter the kidney – is used as a treatment at this stage. The other solution would be to do a kidney transplant where a person receives a healthy kidney from a donor.
High Blood Pressure
Increased and dangerously unchecked flow of blood through the body can traumatize and weaken blood vessels, including those in the kidneys. This can prevent them from performing as they should and result in permanent damage. High blood pressure should be treated with medication and healthy lifestyle changes like diet and exercise.
Sometimes, the body can turn on itself in a way that makes the immune system attack certain organs. When the kidney is affected, it’s called lupus nephritis – a case where the kidney’s small vessels become inflamed and scarred. Lupus is treated with different medications: Some of which may affect your immune system, while others help control your blood pressure or get rid of swelling and excess fluid.
You might wonder what a mental illness might have to do with the kidneys but anorexic people have an unrealistic body image that causes them to starve themselves for fear of weight gain. People with anorexia weigh at least 15% less because they don’t eat enough food and some binge-eat and purge (vomit or use laxatives) to get rid of calories. This can lead to a lack of water and salt in the body which can over time cause chronic kidney disease and, eventually, kidney failure.
When someone experiences an inability to pee, it means that urine is backed up in the body and this can damage the kidneys due to pressure which can lead to infection in the kidneys and other parts of your body. Enlarged prostate, prostate cancer, kidney stones, bladder cancer, blood clots in the urinary tract, and colon cancer are some of the conditions that can cause urine blockage. If you’re peeing less than normal or there’s blood in your urine, see your doctor.
Polycystic Kidney Disease
This causes cysts to grow inside the kidneys, making them much larger than they should be and damaging their tissue. It’s a genetic problem and if it’s not diagnosed and managed early enough, it can lead to chronic kidney disease and, eventually, to end-stage renal disease.
Can kidney failure be prevented?
Sure! Here are a few things you can do to reduce your risk:
- Follow directions when taking over-the-counter medications to avoid high toxin levels that can overload your kidneys.
- Limit your exposure to chemicals, such as household cleaners, tobacco, pesticides, and other toxic products to the barest minimum. Smoking is one activity you can totally do without.
- Early detection and treatment: many kidney or urinary tract conditions lead to kidney failure when not properly managed.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat right and do your best to keep diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure at bay – or manage them properly.