Kidney health is becoming increasingly important in today's society, because of the epidemic proportions of adult onset diabetes. It's currently estimated that one in
nine Americans have some form of chronic kidney disease, and millions more are at risk. Kidney diseases and problems start slowly though, and develop over long periods of time. By taking care of your kidneys - along with the rest of your body - as early as possible in your life, you can slow or prevent the progression of many of the most common problems.
The kidneys are what filters toxins and wastes out of our bloodstream. When our body has processed the foods we eat, it sends the wastes and toxins to the blood stream. The kidneys then filter that blood. The clean blood goes back to our body, and the wastes filtered out are made into urine and sent to the bladder.
Our kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood each day, and they make approximately 2 quarts or urine from the wastes filtered each day as well. When the kidneys are not working properly, many health problems can occur. These can range from kidney infections and kidney stones, to kidney diseases which include symptoms such as as skin rashes, swelling, itching, dizziness, exhaustion, and pain.
The kidneys have tiny little blood vessels and tubes which work as the filters for our blood stream. When someone has high blood pressure, those little blood vessels can be damaged and not work properly.
When someone has diabetes, the excess glucose, or blood sugar, stays in our blood stream and can act like a poison to the rest of our body. This extra blood sugar can then damage the filtering mechanisms inside the kidneys. This condition is known as Diabetic Nephropathy.
There are other things that can cause health problems with your kidneys too, and these are often an injury, poison, or certain prescription and over the counter pain medications. Combining acetaminophen and aspirin, aleve, or ibuprofen for instance, can cause kidney disease and failure when taken over long periods of time or in high doses.
Chronic kidney diseases can also come from having chronic kidney infections and stones which injure the kidney tissues.
Caring for your body in general is important, but the kidneys are an especially important organ to keep healthy. Without their filtering functionality, the body cannot live.
There are many things you can do to help keep your kidneys healthy, and we'll review some of the easiest home, natural and herbal approaches in this series.
Common Kidney Health Issues
The most common kidney health problems seen today are kidney infections and kidney stones. There are kidney diseases as well though, and some of these are hereditary while others are caused by other medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
Chronic Kidney diseases and failure have become more common in fact, because of the increase in cases of diabetes and high blood pressure - both of which can damage the functionality of your kidneys.
When someone has high blood pressure, it can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys. These blood vessels are needed as part of the body's toxin and waste filtering process, so when they're damaged the kidneys are unable to operate properly. Diabetes causes a similar problem. When the body's blood sugar levels stay too high, that glucose in the blood can act as a poison to the system. And the poison will damage the filtering tubes inside the kidneys, thus making the kidneys unable to filter the toxins and wastes properly.
Unfortunately the cycle is somewhat vicious. People with diabetes have lowered immune system functionality, and this makes them more susceptile to infections. And kidney infections can damage the kidneys or make them fail completely when left untreated.
Kidney infections are often started with a bladder infection. A bladder infection that is not treated or spreads quickly can travel up the ureter tubes which connect the kidneys to the bladder. Bladder infections can also cause kidney infections in people whose immune system resistance is low or not working well too.
Conditions which put people more at risk for kidney infections include pregnancy, diabetes, HIV, cancer, kidney stones, poor hygeine, intercourse for women, and catheter tubes.
Kidney stones are another common health problem for many people, and often they're chronic too. This means the problem keeps coming back regularly. Kidney stones can be more of a problem for people who have family members with frequent kidney stone problems. Anyone with chronic kidney diseases are also more at risk though, as are people who have poor dietary habits or who let themselves become too dehydrated.
Most kidney stones are formed by calcium deposits which aren't diluted enough to be flushed from the system. When these calcium deposits gather together, they form sharp crystal like substances. Those crystals can join together further, to form hard stones.
Many people get kidney stones without knowing it, because the stones are small enough to be passed through the urinary tract system and out of the body through the urine. When the stones are large however, and they try to travel to the bladder for elimination from the body, they can get stuck in the narrow ureter tubes which connect the kidneys and the bladder. When these stones get stuck, it can cause severe pain, and sometimes even block the flow of urine.
Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.