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Kidney disease – causes, side effects and treatments at

Monday, May 07, 2018 by

Kidney disease, also called renal disease, is a general term for any damage to the kidney that affects its function to remove wastes from the body, such as genetic problems, injuries or medications.

People with an existing health condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure or another form of kidney problem are highly susceptible to kidney disease.

Other kidney problems include:

  • Cancer
  • Cysts
  • Infections
  • Stones

Some causes of kidney failure are treatable and the kidney function may return to normal. On the other hand, kidney failure may be progressive and may even be irreversible. In this case, the patient will need a dialysis or even a transplant.


Known symptoms and risk factors for kidney disease

Symptoms of kidney disease are due to the buildup of waste products and excess fluid in the body, but the symptoms only manifest once your kidney is already severely damaged.

The following are the indications of kidney disease:

  • Abnormally dark or light skin
  • Bloody stools
  • Brittle hair and nails
  • Confusion
  • Decreased libido
  • Drowsiness
  • Easy bruising and bleeding
  • Excessive thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Hiccups
  • Impotence
  • Insomnia
  • Itching
  • Labored breathing
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Muscle twitching and cramps
  • Nausea
  • Numbness in the extremities
  • Pain in the bones
  • Pedal edema (swelling of the legs)
  • Periorbital edema (swelling around the eyes)
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Sleep apnea
  • Uremic frost (crystallized urea deposits on the skin)
  • Urine-smelling breath
  • Vomiting (especially in the morning and after meals)
  • Weight loss

The risk of developing kidney disease increases for people in their 60s or older, and for those whose family has a history of kidney disease. Diabetes is another common risk factor for kidney failure. It’s more likely to occur in African Americans, Native Americans, and Asian-Americans. Other risk factors include:

  • Atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries)
  • Bladder obstruction
  • Chronic glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the kidney)
  • Congenital kidney disease
  • Hypertension
  • Lupus
  • Overexposure to some toxins
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Some medications

Body systems harmed by kidney disease

Kidney failure is the cause of severe damage to the kidney, halting its function to eliminate wastes from the body. Kidney failure may occur from a situation that injures the kidneys or from chronic diseases that gradually cause the kidneys to stop functioning.

Food items or nutrients that may prevent kidney disease

Below are some food items that will help manage and prevent kidney disease.

  • Water – The best way to cleanse your body of toxins, which can lead to bacterial infection or kidney stones, is to drink the recommended eight to 10 glasses of water every day. If you’re more active, you may need to increase your water intake. Consult your healthcare provider to understand how many glasses of water you should drink per day depending on the condition of your kidneys.
  • Cranberries/cranberry juice – Cranberry juice is a popular home remedy for urinary tract infection (UTI). It’s a great natural antibiotic that prevents any bacterial growth in the digestive tract or the kidneys.
  • Apples – They’ll still keep your kidneys cleansed without causing too frequent urination. They’re also a great source of pectin, a type of soluble fiber that’s wonderful for diabetics since it slows down the blood sugar and removes excess cholesterol. Since diabetes is closely related to renal failure, consuming apples can help protect you from kidney problems.

Other food items that may help keep your kidneys healthy are grapefruits, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, mushrooms, red bell peppers, kale, and oatmeal.

Treatments, management plans for kidney disease

As we age, kidney function gradually decreases over time. The treatments and home remedies for kidney disease include medical treatments like dialysis and kidney transplant, reducing the amount of salt in your diet, eating less potassium, and eating less meat. Other remedies include drinking plenty of water, consuming probiotics, losing some weight, ditching the pain relievers, avoiding phosphorus, and quitting smoking.

Lifelong efforts to control blood pressure and diabetes may be the best way to prevent kidney disease and its progression to kidney failure.

Where to learn more


Kidney disease is a general term for any damage to the kidney that affects its function, such as genetic problems, injuries or medications.

People with diabetes, high blood pressure or another form of kidney problem are highly susceptible to kidney disease.

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