10 Signs You Might Have Kidney Disease
The kidneys are a pair of organs located on either side of your spine, just above your waist. These organs are four to five inches long, and their function is to filter impurities from the blood, balance electrolytes in your body, and control blood pressure.
The waste products that the kidneys filter from the blood are then excreted through the urine. The two main waste products are urea and sodium. Urea is a waste product of protein metabolism, and constitutes about half of the waste products present in the urine. Sodium is an essential mineral that you get from your diet, and excess amounts are excreted. Other waste products include ammonia, uric acid, oxalate, and various minerals.
Electrolytes are necessary to the body. These are minerals that let cells carry electrical impulses to other cells; for example, in nerve and muscle tissue. The kidneys maintain the right balance of electrolytes so that these tissues can function properly.
The blood pressure in your body depends on many factors. However, the kidneys are able to influence it by causing blood vessels to constrict and increasing the amount of blood circulating.
What Causes Chronic Kidney Disease?
There are about one million filters, or nephrons, in each of your kidneys. Damaged nephrons stop doing their job. When enough nephrons have been damaged, your kidneys can’t filter your blood well enough for you to stay healthy.
When your kidneys haven’t been functioning properly for more than three months, you have chronic kidney disease. This is a serious condition, due to the lack of symptoms in earlier stages as well as the serious complications. Chronic kidney disease is a medical problem that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible, especially considering that kidney damage often can’t be repaired.
The most common causes are diabetes (both types) and high blood pressure. Immune system conditions are another common culprit, such as lupus and AIDS. Other possible causes include hepatitis B, hepatitis C, recurrent urinary tract infections, and kidney damage caused by drug abuse.