The kidneys act as the filter system of the body and work to keep the body in a balanced state. The kidneys manage the good and bad substances in the body , thus allowing the body to function well.
If the kidneys’ ability to function is damaged, excess fluid and wastes may build up in the body. Many forms of kidney diseases do not produce symptoms until late in the course of the disease and the disease may not become apparent until the kidney function is significantly impaired. Signs and symptoms of kidney disease include nausea, reduced appetite, tiredness, swelling of ankles, shortness of breath and high blood pressure.
Many kidney diseases like urinary tract infections and kidney stones can be successfully treated. Careful control of conditions like diabetes and hypertension may slow the progression of chronic kidney disease. The term ‘chronic kidney disease’ is used for all levels of kidney impairment from a small decline in kidney performance that causes no symptoms to kidney failure. Kidney failure may be treated with hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis or kidney transplantation. Each of these approaches need to be individualised for each patient and a kidney specialist can help each patient to make the best treatment choices for themselves.
. So, your kidneys are a powerful chemical factory in the body that perform the following functions:
- Remove waste products from the body
- Balance the body’s fluids
- Release hormones that regulate blood pressure
- Maintain bone health
- Control the production of red cells
While now we are aware of the role of the kidney and its impact on our health, let’s understand some ways to ensure our kidneys function normally:
- Manage conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, urinary infection that increase your risk of kidney disease with your doctor’s help
- Eat healthy and maintain a healthy weight
- Maintain a healthy fluid intake
- Don’t smoke
- Follow instructions on over-the-counter medications- especially when taking pain relievers.
- If you have medical conditions that increase your risk of kidney disease, ask your doctor about tests to look for signs of kidney damage.
Article Prepared by Dr.AshwathyHaridas, Nephrologist at NephroPlus Mumbai