Kidney problems are quite common and affect a wide cross section of the global population. Some people may not even be aware that they have a problem since, in some cases, the symptoms are hardly noticeable.
Kidney disorders are numerous and range from temporary, mild conditions to severe, permanent kidney damage. In some cases, renal problems are hereditary and are present at birth (congenital). Conditions such as kidney cysts, alport syndrome and kidney reflux are all examples of hereditary or genetic disorders.
Most kidney problems, however, are caused by poor dietary and lifestyle choices, illness, or aging and include urinary tract infection, kidney stones, hypertension and kidney cancer.
The good news is that many of these conditions can be prevented or reversed with appropriate changes to diet and lifestyle practices, or early medical intervention.
Most kidney disorders are degenerative and tend to get progressively worse over a long period of time (many months or years). These are commonly referred to as chronic kidney diseases (CKD). Severe kidney conditions that develop suddenly within a relatively short period of time, they are classified as acute.
Symptoms vary widely and are determined by the condition and its severity. In the very early stages of kidney problems, symptoms are sometimes hardly noticeable and can be easily ignored or overlooked.
However, ignoring early signs and symptoms of kidney disease can eventually lead to more serious health problems. In many cases, early detection, diagnosis and treatment result in complete reversal of many kidney conditions.
If, however, renal problems are not detected and treated early, they can get progressively worse and lead to severe kidney damage and end stage renal disease (ESRD).
When kidney disease progresses to the severe stages, the results are usually devastating to the patient and their families. Apart from the physical and medical complication there are emotional, social and financial challenges associated with severe renal failure. Hence, the importance of early diagnosis and treatment cannot be over emphasized.
Some common symptoms of kidney disorders include the following:
Treatment is determined by the type of kidney problem and its severity. In some cases, simple dietary adjustments and lifestyle changes are sufficient. In other cases, medical intervention may be necessary and may include antibiotics and other medications, dialysis, or surgery.
There are also non-conventional treatment options, such as herbal and homeopathic medicines.
Prevention, however, is the best treatment option. Eat a balanced diet, drink adequate amounts of water daily, exercise regularly and visit your doctor at least once per annum for a full medical checkup.
If you experience persistent pain, discomfort or any of the symptoms associated with kidney problems, visit your doctor promptly. Remember, the earlier kidney conditions are detected and treated, the greater the chances of minimizing kidney damage and its associated complication.