The kidneys are part of the urinary system and are two of the most important internal organs in the body. They are responsible for filtering the blood, eliminating toxins, regulating blood pressure, producing hormones, and regulating the urinary system. The kidneys are extremely efficient and complex organs: each minute more than one quart of blood passes through the kidneys (about 425 gallons every day). They constantly regulate the water, acids, salts, and electrolyte content of the blood, then rid the body of waste products through urine. Disorders such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and various toxins and drugs can damage the kidneys. Stones, tumors or other problems that block urine flow can also cause kidney failure. A degenerative kidney leads to toxic waste buildup in the body.
Facts about Kidney Disease
Unfortunately, more than twenty million Americans have kidney problems, including infections, kidney stones, and diabetes. With chronic kidney disease, your kidneys do not work properly or efficiently. Kidney failure prevails-it can only be treated with dialysis or a kidney transplant. Here are some facts about kidney diseas
- About 1 in 12 people in America has a kidney or urinary tract disease.
- Over 20 million adults over age 20 have chronic kidney disease.
- Diabetes is the number one cause of kidney failure. High blood pressure is number two.
- Over 80,000 people with kidney failure die each year. Kidney disease is America’s ninth leading cause of death.
- There are 450,000 people being kept alive through dialysis or kidney transplants.
- Over 65,000 patients are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. Sadly, only 15,000 will get a new kidney this year.
Kidney Disease and the Benefits of Kidney Detoxification
Pyelonephritisis a kidney infection, usually from bacteria that have spread from the bladder. Normally, urine is sterile and does not contain bacteria. However, bacteria that are normally present in the digestive tract may cause infection if they enter the urinary tract and travel to the kidneys. Kidney stones that prevent the efficient flow of urine from the bladder can also infect the kidneys. Symptoms involve back, side, and groin pain; urgent frequent urination; pain or burning during urination; fever; nausea and vomiting; and pus or blood in the urine. An untreated kidney infection can lead to scarring of the kidneys and permanent kidney damage.
A kidney stone is a hard mass developed from crystals that separate from the urine and build up on the inner surfaces of the kidney. Kidney stones may contain various combinations of chemicals. The most common type of stone is the calcium oxalate stone, which contains calcium in combination with either oxalate or phosphate. It may also form in people who have a chronic inflammation of the bowel or who have had an intestinal bypass operation. A less common type of stone is called a struvite, caused by infection in the urinary tract. People who take the protease inhibitor indinavir, a drug used to treat HIV infection, are also at risk of developing kidney stones.
Usually, the first symptom of a kidney stone is extreme pain, which occurs when a stone acutely blocks the flow of urine. The pain often begins suddenly when a stone moves in the urinary tract, causing irritation or blockage. Typically, a person feels a sharp, cramping pain in the back and side in the area of the kidney or in the lower abdomen. Sometimes nausea and vomiting occur. Later, pain may spread to the groin. If the stone is too large to pass easily, pain continues as the muscles in the wall of the tiny ureter try to squeeze the stone along into the bladder. As a stone grows or moves, blood may appear in the urine, and you may feel the need to urinate more often, or feel a burning sensation during urination. If fever and chills accompany any of these symptoms, you may have an infection.
A simple and important lifestyle change to prevent kidney stones is to drink more liquids, water is best; monitoring your diet is another preventative measure. Since excess calcium in the body can lead to the formation of kidney stones, avoid foods with added vitamin D and certain calcium-based antacids. Also limit foods containing oxalate: beets, chocolate, coffee, cola, nuts, spinach, rhubarb, strawberries, tea, wheat bran. If you have very acidic urine, you may need to eat less meat, fish, and poultry-these foods increase the amount of acid in the urine, which can lead to kidney stones.