Causes of Kidney Disease

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What are the common causes of kidney disease?

Diabetes and high blood pressure are the top causes of kidney diseases. For around two-thirds of people living with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), their kidney disease is caused by either diabetes or high blood pressure. Another form of CKD is glomerulonephritis, a general term for many types of kidney inflammation. Genetic diseases (such as polycystic kidney disease, or PKD), autoimmune diseases, birth defects, acute kidney failure and other problems can also cause kidney disease.

Diabetes: Definition, Causes and Symptoms

Diabetes is a disease that affects your body’s ability to produce or use insulin. Insulin is a hormone. When your body turns the food you eat into energy (also called sugar or glucose), insulin is released to help transport this energy to the cells. Insulin sends a chemical message to cells to open and receive glucose. If you produce little or no insulin, or are insulin resistant, too much sugar remains in your blood. Blood glucose levels are higher than normal for individuals with diabetes. There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.

Type 1 diabetes : When you are affected with Type 1 diabetes, your pancreas does not produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes is also called juvenile diabetes, since it is often diagnosed in children or teens. This type accounts for 5-10 percent of people with diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes : Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin, or when the cells are unable to use insulin properly, which is called insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes is commonly diagnosed later in life, generally after the age of 45. 90-95 percent of people with diabetes have this type.

The cause of diabetes is unknown. Genetics, diet, obesity and lack of exercise may play a role in developing diabetes, especially Type 2 diabetes.

Over time, high blood sugar levels (also called hyperglycaemia) can lead to kidney disease, heart disease and blindness. The excess sugar in the bloodstream can damage the tiny blood vessels in your eyes and kidneys, and can harden or narrow your arteries. Some common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Blurry vision
  • Extreme hunger
  • Increased tiredness
  • Unusual weight loss

Hypertension: Definition, Causes and Symptoms

Hypertension is another term for high blood pressure, i.e., is when the pressure of the blood is higher than it should be. Blood travels away from the heart through special blood vessels, called arteries, to all parts of the body. The pressure of the blood against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps is what is measured. The blood pressure measurement has two numbers: a top one, and a bottom one. The top number (systolic) is the pressure when the heart pumps blood out. The bottom number (diastolic) is the pressure when the heart relaxes before the next beat.

When blood pressure is high and left untreated, it can damage the blood vessels that carry blood throughout the body. The smaller blood vessels are the ones usually affected first. Kidneys have small blood vessels that can become damaged by high blood pressure. This can lead to CKD. Because one of the jobs of the kidneys is to control blood pressure this can cause more problems. Renin is a hormone produced by the kidneys. When the kidneys are not working properly, they may release renin causing blood pressure to go up even higher.

Lifestyle choices of individuals affect their risk for hypertension. Chances of getting high blood pressure are greater for:

  • Smokers
  • Overweight people
  • Men over 45 years old
  • Women over 55 years old
  • Those with a family history of high blood pressure
  • Those who are borderline or prehypertensive (between 120/80 and 139/89)

Most people with high blood pressure do not know they have it because they don't have any symptoms. Unfortunately, a heart attack or stroke can sometimes be the first sign of a problem. The only way to know if your blood pressure is high is to have it checked by a health care provider.

A blood pressure reading lower than 120/80 is desirable. Lower readings are usually found in children and adults who are in excellent physical condition. A person's blood pressure is considered high if the top number is higher 140 and the bottom number is higher than 90.

Usually, blood pressure is lowest when sleeping and highest when exercising. Because blood pressure varies throughout the day, several readings should be taken to get a true measurement. One high reading alone may not mean a person has high blood pressure. That is why it takes a few readings to determine if a person has high blood pressure.

Are you at risk for kidney disease?

To know more about the symptoms of kidney disease click here

Do you know the causes of kidney disease and if you’re at risk? Take a 3-minute Kidney Disease Risk Quiz to see if you’re at risk for renal disease.

Take this 3-minute quiz to find out if you are at risk

If you have signs of kidney disease, you should ask for a referral to a nephrologist, a specialist in treating kidney disease. A nephrologist will perform an evaluation then suggest medications or lifestyle changes to help slow the progression of kidney disease. To contact a nephrologist at DaVita you may call us at 9740426060 or fill the form below :

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