Your Kidneys

What is Kidney Disease?

 

Anyone can have kidney disease. In fact, two U.S. presidents had kidney disease while in office. Kidney disease affects people of all ages and races. More than 26 million Americans””one in nine adults””have some form of kidney disease.

There are many reasons why kidneys become damaged, but the two most common causes are the effects of diabetes and high blood pressure. There are also inherited kidney diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease, which can lead to kidney damage.

The main function of the kidney is to filter our blood. Like any filter, the kidney gets less efficient the longer it is used. Scars in the tissues form in the kidney as part of normal aging but are made worse when certain diseases, like hypertension or diabetes, put more strain on the kidney. The kidneys do not regenerate, so to prepare for this normal loss, the kidney is designed to function even to 50% loss.

Symptoms from low kidney function rarely occur until the function is less than 30%. This is where intervention is necessary to slow the progression of the disease known as chronic kidney disease (CKD). Damaged kidneys cannot perform their normal functions of removing wastes and toxins from the body. This buildup of toxins and wastes affects the whole body.

Kidney Function

Dialysis or kidney transplant is not needed until kidney function is less than 10 to 15%.

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