The kidneys are two fist sized organs located on either side of the spine just above the waist. It performs life-sustaining role because it cleanse the blood by removing waste and excess fluids, maintain a balance of various body chemicals, and also in regulating blood pressure.
If the kidneys become damaged, it can lose its ability to perform these vital functions. Waste products and excess fluid then build up inside the body which can cause a variety of symptoms particularly swelling of the hands and feet, shortness of breath, and a frequent urge to urinate. If left untreated, diseased kidneys may eventually stop functioning. Loss of kidney function is a very serious and potentially fatal condition.
Kidney disease is classified as acute in which loos of function occurs suddenly or chronic in which deterioration takes place gradually, perhaps over a period of years
Decrease in amount of urine or difficulty urinating
Edema (fluid retention) especially in the lower legs
A need to urinate more often especially at night
The causes are often difficult to say.Most are the result of another disease or condition, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or atherosclerosis, all of which impede the flow of blood inside the kidneys. Lupus and other diseases of the immune system that affect blood vessels may also trigger kidney disease by causing the kidneys to become inflamed.
Some diseases like polycystic kidney disease, in which cysts form the kidneys are inherited.Chronic kidney disease may also result from long-term exposure to toxic chemicals or to drugs, including certain illegal drugs, such as heroin. Overuse of NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen) can lead to chronic renal disease. Excessive amounts of vitamin D and protein, particularly in the diets of the elderly or the very ill may harm the kidneys. But in many chronic cases the correct cause remains unknown.
Acute kidney disease can occur within a matter of days following the onset of any medical condition that suddenly and dramatically reduces the flow of blood to the kidneys. Examples are a heart attack, a traumatic injury such as one sustained in an automobile accident, a serious infection, or a toxic reaction to a drug.
Inhaling or swallowing certain toxins, including methyl alcohol, carbon tetrachloride, antifreeze, and poisonous mushrooms, can also cause the kidneys to suddenly malfunction. Marathon runners and other endurance athletes who do not drink enough liquids while competing in long-distance athletic events may suffer acute kidney failure due to a sudden breakdown of muscle tissue, which releases a chemical called myoglobin that can damage the kidneys.
Certain laboratory tests can indicate whether your kidneys are eliminating waste products properly. These tests include serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN); too much of either can indicate kidney damage. Proteinuria, an excess of protein in the urine is also a sign of kidney disease.