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Kidney disease – symptoms, causes and other risk factors

Kidney disease is a disease which can affect the ability of your body to clean your blood, filter extra water out of your blood and help control your blood pressure. Every single person is born with two kidneys. They are on either side of our spine just above our waist. When our kidneys are damaged, the waste products and fluid can build up in your body. This can cause shortness of breath, poor sleep, weakness, vomiting and swelling in your ankles. If you do not treat the kidney disease, then this condition can get worse and your kidneys may eventually stop working. This is a serious condition and it can be life – threatening. When we have healthy kidneys, then they:

  • Make an active form of Vitamin D, needed for bone health and other things
  • Make a chemical called erythropoietin, which prompts our bodies to make red blood cells
  • Make rennin, which our bodies is using to help manage your blood pressure
  • Remove waste from your blood after digestion, muscle activity and exposure to chemicals or medications
  • Keep a balance of water and minerals (such as phosphorus, potassium and sodium) in your blood

Acute kidney problems: If our kidneys suddenly stop working, doctors call this condition acute renal failure or acute kidney injury. The main causes for this condition are:

  • Urine backed up in the kidneys
  • Direct damage to the kidneys themselves
  • Not enough blood flow to the kidneys

Those things can happen when you:

  • Have complications during a pregnancy, such as eclampsia and pre – eclampsia [1]
  • Taking certain drugs or are around certain toxins [2]
  • Have an enlarged prostate that blocks your urine flow [3]
  • Go into shock because you have a severe infection called sepsis [4]
  • Are dehydrated and your muscle tissue breaks down, sending too much protein into your bloodstream [5]
  • Have a traumatic injury with blood loss such as in a car wreck [6]

Kidney disease

Kidney disease

Autoimmune diseases can also cause an acute kidney injury. Autoimmune diseases are diseases when your immune system is attacking your body.

Chronic kidney disease: When your kidneys are not working well for longer than 3 months, then they call this condition as a chronic kidney disease. You may not have symptoms in the early stages, but it is very important to be discovered and treated in the early stages. The most common culprits are high blood pressure and diabetes type 1 and 2. High blood pressure creates wear and tear on the blood vessels including those blood vessels which go to the kidneys. The high blood sugar levels over time harm your kidneys. [6]

Other conditions include:

  • Long – lasting viral illnesses, such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and hepatitis C [7]
  • When you have an inflammation in the tiny filters (glomeruli) within your kidneys. This can happen after a strep infection. [8]
  • Immune system disease. If you have kidney disease which is due to lupus, then this condition is known as lupus nepharitis. [3]
  • Pyelonephritis, a urinary tract infection within the kidneys, which can result in scarring as the infection heals. This condition can lead to kidney damage if it happens several times [9]
  • Polycystic kidney disease, a genetic condition where fluid – filled sacs form in your kidneys [10]

Symptoms of kidney disease

Many people may not have noticed any problems if they have chronic kidney disease when this disease it is in early stages. In the most cases people do not have symptoms at this period. This is dangerous because damage can happen to your kidneys and you will not realize that is happening. When the chronic kidney disease is in the advanced stages, then you may:

  • Lose weight for no obvious reason
  • Sleep poorly
  • Have very dry, itchy skin
  • Have muscle cramps, especially in your legs
  • Not be able to taste much
  • Not feel like eating
  • Feel tired or short of breath all the time
  • Have swelling, particularly of the ankles, and puffiness around the eyes
  • See “foam” in your pee
  • Pee more often than normal, or less often
  • Be vomiting or often feel like you are going to

A child who has chronic kidney disease may also have less appetite than normal, not be growing as expected, feel sleepier than usual or feel worn out.


[1] Williams D, Davidson J. Chronic kidney disease in pregnancy. BMJ. 2008;336(7637):211–5.

[2] Fevrier-Paul A, Soyibo AK, Mitchell S, Voutchkov M. Role of toxic elements in chronic kidney disease. Journal of Health and Pollution. 2018;8(20):181202.

[3] Rule AD, Jacobson DJ, Roberts RO, et al. The association between benign prostatic hyperplasia and chronic kidney disease in community-dwelling men. Kidney International. 2005;67(6):2376-82.

[4] Peerapornratana S, Manrique-Caballero CL, Gómez H, Kellum JA. Acute kidney injury from sepsis: current concepts, epidemiology, pathophysiology, prevention and treatment. Kidney International. 2019;96(5):1083–99.

[5] Hilliard LM, Mirabito Colafella KM, Bulmer LL, et al. Chronic recurrent dehydration associated with periodic water intake exacerbates hypertension and promotes renal damage in male spontaneously hypertensive rats. Scientific Reports. 2016.

[6] de Abreu KLS, Silva Junior GB, Barreto AGC, et al. Acute kidney injury after trauma: Prevalence, clinical characteristics and RIFLE classification. Indian Journal of Critical Care Medicine. 2010;14(3):121–8.

[7] Barsoum RS, William EA, Khalil SS. Hepatitis C and kidney disease: A narrative review. Journal of Advanced Research. 2017;8(2):113–30.

[8] Prasad N, Patel MR. Infection-induced kidney diseases. Frontiers in Medicine (Lausanne). 2018;5:327.

[9] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Kidney infection (pyelonephritis). Retrieved from

[10] Halvorson CR, Bremmer MS, Jacobs SC. Polycystic kidney disease: inheritance, pathophysiology, prognosis, and treatment. International Journal of Nephrology and Renovascular Disease. 2010;3:69–83.

Pardhan Singh
Pardhan Singh
A seasoned natural therapist with degree in Ayurvedic Medicine (BAMS) successful in treating various diseases through Ayurvedic treatments. You can contact Pradhan at [email protected]



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