Search for Diseases :
Persons most commonly affected: All age groups and both sexes.
Organ or part of body involved: Kidney
Symptoms and indications: Burning or difficulty during urination, an increase in the frequency of urination, passage of blood in the urine, puffiness around the eyes, swelling of the hands and feet, pain in the small of the back just below the ribs and high blood pressure.
Causes and risk factors: There are many different types and causes of kidney disease. These can be characterized as hereditary, congenital or acquired.
Hereditary Disorders :
These can be transmitted to both males and females, and generally produce clinical symptoms from teenage years to adulthood. The most prevalent hereditary kidney condition is polycystic kidney disease. Other hereditary conditions include Alport's syndrome, hereditary nephritis, primary hyperoxaluria and cystinuria.
Congenital Disease :
This usually involves some malformation of the genitourinary tract, usually leading to some type of obstruction which subsequently produces infection and/or destruction of kidney tissue. The destruction can eventually progress to chronic kidney failure.
Acquired Kidney Disease :
These diseases are numerous, the general term being nephritis (meaning inflammation of the kidney). The most common type of nephritis is glomerulonephritis, and again, this has many causes.
Kidney Stones :
These are very common, and when they pass, the pain can be extremely severe in the side and back. Stone formation can be an inherited disorder, secondary to a malformation and/or infection in the kidney, or can occur without any prior problem. The pain can appear suddenly and in waves, and then disappear rapidly when the stone is passed.
Nephrotic Syndrome :
This refers to a large protein loss in the urine [frequently in association with low blood protein (albumin) levels, an elevated blood cholesterol and severe retention of body fluid, causing swelling (edema)]. This disease can be a primary disorder of the kidney or secondary to an illness, affecting many parts of the body (for example diabetes mellitus).
Long-standing High Blood Pressure (hypertension):
This can cause kidney disease itself or can be a result of a kidney disorder. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can accelerate the natural course of any underlying kidney disease.
Long standing diabetes can lead to kidney failure. However, tight control of blood glucose levels over the years may reduce those complications.
Drugs and Toxins :
Certain medications, toxins, pesticides and "street" drugs (i.e., heroin) can also produce kidney damage.
Prevention: Maintaining a balanced diet tending toward alkaline-producing foods is likely to improve kidney functioning.