Facts About Kidney Disease

What is Kidney Disease?

Top three facts about kidney disease:

  • Kidney disease is the 8th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two leading causes of kidney disease
  • More than 20 million adults in the U.S. have kidney disease

About 20 million Americans have undetected moderate kidney disease, according to the National Kidney Foundation, and another 20 million are at risk. With these numbers on the rise, the focus shifts to what can be done to reduce these staggering statistics. Your kidneys remove about two quarts of waste products and excess fluid each day. When you have kidney disease your kidneys are unable to purify your blood effectively. This condition may be acute — happening suddenly — or chronic, occurring progressively over time. Symptoms of kidney disease may include nausea and vomiting, swelling, fatigue, shortness of breath, itching, loss of appetite and back/flank pain.

There are many different causes and types of kidney disease with varying symptoms. Here’s an overview of some of the most common cause/forms of the disease.

Causes of Kidney Disease

There are many causes of kidney disease including:

High Blood Pressure:  Blood pressure measures the force of blood being pumped from the heart against the walls of the arteries. Your arteries may become narrowed for a variety of reasons. When this occurs, the same amount of blood must now flow through a narrower vessel, which increases the amount of pressure on your arterial walls. This is called high blood pressure or hypertension. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke, blindness, and/or kidney failure.

Diabetes:  Having diabetes puts you at greater risk of developing chronic kidney disease. In fact, people with diabetes are at a higher risk for developing kidney failure than the general population.

Polycystic Kidney Disease:  Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is an inherited disorder which causes blister-like cysts to develop in the kidneys. As these fluid- filled cysts slowly increase in size, they compress healthy tissue and impair kidney function. Polycystic kidney disease is the most common inherited disease of the kidneys, affecting a half-million Americans. PKD is the number four cause of kidney failure in Americans, and an estimated 600,000 people in the United States currently have it. About half of the people diagnosed with PKD will experience end stage renal disease (ESRD) and will need dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Drugs, Alcohol, and Your Kidneys:  The job of the kidneys is to filter impurities from your blood. Your body works hard to filter “bad” materials, such as drugs, from your blood. This means that if you have harmful drugs or chemicals in your blood- stream, many of these poisons will travel through your kidneys. Your kidneys will work hard to take these poisons out of your blood and pass them on to the bladder to be excreted. The more drugs you use, the more exposure your kidneys will have