Kidney Disease - Some Common Causes
Kidney disease is any condition or disorder that affects the proper functioning of the kidneys. It refers to any unhealthy condition or specific illness that affects the kidneys and impairs kidney function. This could range from mild kidney infection to life threatening conditions, such as kidney cancer.
Signs of early kidney problems are not always obvious and can be easily overlooked or ignored. For example, high blood pressure, which is a leading cause of kidney failure, produces very little early warning signs.
Some diseases are hereditary and are passed on from parents to children. These are sometimes unavoidable and can be very difficult to treat. Others are caused by bacteria that either originate in the body or enter the body from external sources and attack the kidneys and other organs.
By far, however, the vast majority of diseases that cause kidney problems result from improper dietary and harmful lifestyle choices. These are sometimes referred to as lifestyle diseases. In many cases, these can be completely reversed by making timely dietary and lifestyle changes.
Occasionally, one or both kidneys may cease to function properly as a result of factors external to the body, such as severe shock caused by trauma.
Diseases that cause kidney function to decline over an extended period of time (3 or more months), are described as chronic. These are referred to as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).
There are five (5) stages of chronic kidney diseases. Stage 1 is the least severe while stage 5 represents the most severe. This final stage is also known as end stage renal disease (ESRD). This classification system provides a standard, which offers guidelines for clinical treatment.
Conditions or disorders that result in sudden and rapid decline in kidney function are described as acute.
Some Common Causes of Kidney Diseases
Hereditary Kidney Diseases
Birth defects or hereditary disorders in the kidneys can also cause renal problems. Such defects may cause the kidneys to have abnormal shapes or to function improperly. The following are examples of hereditary kidney diseases.
The causes of kidney disease are numerous. Since the major function of the kidney is to filter and regulate the blood, any disease that affects the blood or that can be transported in the bloodstream can also affect the kidneys. The body is a unit of inter-related systems, therefore, diseases that affect other organs or parts of the body can very easily affect the kidney, and vice versa.
Regulating our diets, exercising regularly and minimizing our exposure to harmful chemicals and substances, can go a long way in helping to prevent kidney disease and other serious medical conditions.