Health & Kidneys
Most people have two kidneys. They are located near the middle of your back, just under the ribcage. Each kidney weighs about 150g. and is about the size of an adult fist. They are bean shaped and reddish brown in colour.
The kidneys perform crucial functions that affect all parts of the body.
What do the kidneys do?
The kidneys have four main roles in the body:
What diseases can cause the kidneys to stop working?
Various diseases can affect kidney function. These include:
The impact of these on kidney function can vary. If you have any of these conditions it is important to seek your doctor's advice about their long-term effects on the kidneys.
What are some of the symptoms of kidney disease?
Signs and symptoms of kidney disease can vary considerably between individuals. The first signs may be general and can include:
Kidney disease often causes no symptoms at all It is not uncommon for people to lose up to 70% of their kidney function before developing any symptoms.
How is kidney disease detected?
Many of the causes of kidney failure strike at random, and cannot be predicted or prevented. Others, such as diabetes, are present for many years before they develop into kidney failure. When this is so, there is an opportunity for early diagnosis and prevention of progression of kidney failure to end stage. Recent advances in our understanding of the nature of kidney failure have identified some classes of drugs, which seem to particularly protect the kidneys, and to slow or in some cases prevent the gradual deterioration of the kidneys.
This new research has created a great deal of interest in the possibility of picking up chrone kidney disease and offering preventative treatment before the kidneys are completely destroyed. These early detection and prevention programs are particularly targeted at high-risk groups such as those who have diabetes, high blood pressure, a family history of kidney disease or other predisposing factors.
If you or a member of your family fall into these groups, you should talk to your local doctor about being tested for kidney failure. There are several tests that can detect kidney disease. The initial basic testing procedures can be performed by your GP. If a problem with the kidneys is detected, further testing is necessary. The tests that can confirm the presence of kidney disease include:
What is the treatment for kidney disease?
Some forms of kidney disease are completely reversible with return of normal kidney function. In others, deterioration of the kidneys cannot be reversed, but the progress can be slowed or prevented by medication. If the function of both kidneys is reduced to less than 10-15%, kidney function must be replaced by dialysis, or a new kidney transplanted.
How can I look after my kidneys?
For more information please consult your family doctor or be in touch with your National Kidney Foundation (India).
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