Kidney diseases are disorders that affect the kidneys; the two organs that remove waste products, produce certain hormones, and regulate the level of chemicals in blood. The production of urine involves highly complex steps of excretion and reabsorption. This process is necessary to maintain a stable balance of body chemicals. The critical regulation of the body’s salt, potassium, and acid content is performed by the kidneys. The kidneys also produce hormones and vitamins affect other organs. Hormones produced by the kidneys stimulate red blood cell production, regulate blood pressure and control calcium metabolism.
Kidney disease usually affects both kidneys. If the kidneys’ ability to remove and regulate water and chemicals is seriously damaged by disease, waste products and excess fluid buildup occur, causing swelling and eventual kidney failure.
There are many different types and causes of kidney disease. These can be characterized as hereditary (eg. polycystic kidney disease), congenital (eg. mutation or malformation of genitourinary tract) or acquired (eg glomerulonephritis, kidney stones). Other health conditions such as diabetes and chronic hypertension (high blood pressure) as well as drugs and toxins can further lead to kidney disease.
Symptoms include: burning or difficulty during urination, higher frequency of urination, blood in the urine, puffiness around the eyes, swelling of the hands and feet, pain in the small of the back just below the ribs and/or high blood pressure.