How Do You Get Kidney Damage?

How Do You Get Kidney Damage?

Kidneys help filter waste products from the blood and are also associated with regulating blood pressure, red blood cell production and electrolyte balance in the body. They draw blood through the renal arteries  directly from the aorta and send blood back to the heart through the renal veins to the vena cava.   

Kidney damage symptoms are caused due to the build-up of waste products and excess fluid in the body that may result in shortness of breath, weakness, lethargy, confusion and swelling. Failing to remove potassium from the bloodstream may lead to unusual heart rhythms and sudden death. In the beginning, it may not show symptoms.

There are an abundance of reasons for your kidneys to fail and treatment of the underlying disease should be the first step in correcting the kidney abnormality. Certain causes are treatable and the kidney function may normalize. However, kidney damage or even kidney failure can be progressive in other situations and may never be reversed. 

To measure what stage of kidney failure you might be at, blood tests measuring BUN, creatinine & GFR should be executed by your nephrologist. Your kidneys may come back to life and support normal kidney function after treatment. The best way to prevent chronic kidney disease and its progression to kidney failure might be to control blood pressure and diabetes early on in life. Our kidney function gradually decreases as we age over time. 

A dialysis or transplant may be the only option if your kidneys fail completely. 

Why are kidneys so important?

The kidneys are equipped with sensors within specialized kidney cells that help regulate how much water to excrete as urine when blood flows to the kidneys, along with what concentration of electrolytes. They are also the main source of the hormone that promotes the bone marrow to make red blood cells; erythropoietin. Specific cells in the kidney observe the oxygen concentration in blood. When oxygen levels fall, erythropoietin levels rise and the body starts to produce more red blood cells. Urine produced by each kidney flows through the ureter, a tube that connects the kidney to the bladder where it is then stored. 

What is Acute Kidney Failure?

In some cases, people have experienced suddenly losing their kidneys’ function. Immediately, the kidneys stop doing their essential tasks: removing excess fluid and salts and other waste materials. When your kidneys come to a complete stop, infectious levels of fluid, salts and wastes start building in the body. At this point, the person’s life is at serious risk.

This sudden issue is called Acute Kidney Failure. A lot of people that are diagnosed with chronic kidney failure gradually lose their kidney function. For people with acute kidney failure, kidney failure proceeds rapidly over a few hours or a few days. The ones at high risk are those who are critically ill and need intensive care. 

Acute kidney failure demands immediate treatment and the upside to this is that acute kidney failure can often be reversed. They start working again in a couple of weeks to months after the underlying cause has been taken care of. You might be undergoing dialysis until then. If the kidneys fail completely, the only treatment options available are dialysis for the rest of your life or transplant.

Here are some situations that put you at risk of Acute Kidney Failure:

  • A serious underlying condition that requires intensive care


  • Decreased blood flow due to very low blood pressure


  • Disorders that cause clotting within the kidneys blood vessels


  • Pregnancy complications


  • Urinary tract obstructions


Some other unknown causes of Kidney Damage:

  • High Blood Pressure


  • Diabetes


  • Glomerulonephritis


  • Overusing Pain-killers


  • Excessive Servings of Processed Foods


  • Eating Too Much Meat


  • Consuming High Sodium & High Sugar Foods


  • Smoking


  • Drinking Alcohol In Excess


  • Sitting Still


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