Urologic Diseases

Kidney Diseases

Conditions, Prevention and Treatment

The kidneys are a pair of organs located in the back of the abdomen. Each kidney is about 4 or 5 inches long - about the size of a fist. Each kidney contains around a million units called nephrons, each of which is a microscopic filter for blood.


The kidneys' function is to filter the blood. All the blood in our bodies passes through the kidneys several times a day. The kidneys remove wastes, control the body's fluid balance, and regulate the balance of electrolytes.
As the kidneys filter blood, they create urine, which collects in the kidneys' pelvis -- funnel-shaped structures that drain down tubes called ureters to the bladder.
Kidney Conditions:
  • Pyelonephritis (infection of kidney pelvis): Bacteria may infect the kidney, usually causing back pain and fever. A spread of bacteria from an untreated bladder infection is the most common cause of pyelonephritis.
  • Glomerulonephritis: An overactive immune system may attack the kidney, causing inflammation and some damage. Blood in the urine and kidney failure are common symptoms of glomerulonephritis.
  • Kidney stones (nephrolithiasis): Minerals in urine form crystals (stones), which may grow large enough to block urine flow. It's considered one of the most painful conditions. Most kidney stones pass on their own but some are too large and need to be treated.
  • Nephrotic syndrome: Damage to the kidneys causes them to spill large amounts of protein into the urine. Leg swelling (edema) may be a symptom.
  • Polycystic kidney disease: A genetic condition resulting in large cysts in both kidneys that impair their function.
  • Chronic renal failure: A permanent partial loss of kidney function. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes.
  • End stage renal disease (ESRD): Complete loss of kidney function, usually due to progressive chronic kidney disease. People with ESRD require regular dialysis for survival – Allah willing.
  • Papillary necrosis: Severe damage to the kidneys can cause chunks of kidney tissue to break off internally and clog the kidneys. If untreated, the resulting damage can lead to total kidney failure.
  • Diabetic nephropathy: High blood sugar from diabetes progressively damages the kidneys, eventually causing chronic kidney disease. Protein in the urine (nephrotic syndrome) may also result.
  • Kidney cancer: Renal cell carcinoma is the most common cancer affecting the kidney. Smoking is the most common cause of kidney cancer.
  • Interstitial nephritis: Inflammation of the connective tissue inside the kidney, often causing acute renal failure. Allergic reactions and drug side effects are the usual causes.
  • Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus: The kidneys lose the ability to concentrate the urine, usually due to a drug reaction. Although it's rarely dangerous, diabetes insipidus causes constant thirst and frequent urination.
  • Renal cyst: A benign hollowed-out space in the kidney. Isolated kidney cysts occur in many normal people and almost never impair kidney function.

Acute Kidney Failure:

Acute kidney failure occurs when your kidneys suddenly become unable to filter waste products from your blood. When kidneys lose their filtering ability, dangerous levels of wastes may accumulate and your blood's chemical makeup may get out of balance.Acute kidney failure is most common in people who are already hospitalized, particularly in critically ill people who need intensive care.Acute kidney failure can be fatal and requires intensive treatment. However, acute kidney failure may be reversible. If you're otherwise in good health, you may recover normal kidney function – Allah willing.

Causes of Acute Kidney Failure:

  • Slowsblood flow to kidneyscondition. For instance, Blood Loss (hemorrhage), severe dehydration, heart diseases, liver failure, use of drugs, Severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) and severe burns.
  •  Direct damage to the kidneys. For instance, blood clots in the veins and arteries in and around the kidneys, glomerulonephritis inflammation of the tiny filters in the kidneys, infection, immune system disorders and medication.
  • Kidneys’ urine drainage tubes (ureters) become blocked and wastes can't leave body through urine, as in the case of Bladder cancer, colon and prostate cancer, enlarged prostate and kidney stones.
Risk Factors:
  • Advanced age.
  • Blockages in the blood vessels in arms or legs (peripheral artery disease).
  • Diabetes.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Heart, kidney and liver diseases.
Chronic Kidney Failure:
Chronic kidney failure, also called chronic kidney disease, describes the gradual loss of kidney function. This disease results from an illness or a health condition which effects the kidneys’ functions over months or years.
Chronic Kidney Failure Causes:
  • Type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Glomerulonephritis, an inflammation of the kidney's filtering units.
  • Polycystic kidney disease.
  • Prolonged obstruction of the urinary tract, from conditions such as enlarged prostate, kidney stones and some cancers.
  • Vesicoureteral reflux, a condition that causes urine to back up into your kidneys.
  • Recurrent kidney infection, also called pyelonephritis.

Risk Factors:

  •  Diabetes.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Heart disease.
  • Smoking.
  • Obesity.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Family history of kidney disease.
  • Age 65 or older.


  •  Follow instructions on over-the-counter (OTC) medications, such as pain medications.
  • If you have kidney disease or other diseases, follow your doctor's recommendations for managing your condition in order to overcome this problem without harming your kidneys.
  • Follow a healthy diet and lifestyle. It is of crucial importance to exercise, quit smoking, eat healthy food and drink pure water.
Kidney Diseases Treatment in General:
Method of treatment varies according to the patient's condition.
  • Antibiotics.
  • Breaking up kidney stones, also known as “renal calculus”, by using (ultrasound) to help break the stones and dispense them from the body.
  • Nephrectomy is most often done to treat kidney cancer or to remove a seriously damaged or diseased kidney.
  • Dialysis.
  • Kidney transplantation.
The Main Objective of a Special Diet for Patients with Kidney Diseases:
The main objective of a special diet for patients with kidney diseases is to ease the burden on kidneys by reducing the amount of foods that contain high nutritional elements especially the following:
  • High-protein foods: after digestion, the body emits urea, which when accumulated and not dispensed through urine, leads to weakness in the brain.
  • High-potassium foods: accumulation of potassium in the body effectsthe heart function.
  •  High-sodium foods (salt): the accumulation of sodium causes high blood pressure.
  • High- phosphate foods: the accumulation of phosphate leads to weak bones.
  • Limit and measure the amounts of fluid intake as the accumulation of fluid leads to swelling.
  • Limit the amounts of fluid depending on the type of kidney disease.
  • Precisely follow the doctor’s prescribed amounts.

It is noteworthy that the same diet cannot be applicable to two people, even if the diagnosis is identical; as each nutritional diet differs, in quantity and quality, according to the health status of the patient, their height, weight, age, and gender.



Last Update : 16 March 2013 12:16 PM
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