Your kidneys help filter waste and excess fluid from your body. They are critical to your well-being and health, but, unfortunately, they aren’t invincible. For some people, kidney function can decrease, which allows electrolytes, excess fluids, and waste to accumulate in the blood. In more serious cases, patients may need to look into kidney transplants or dialysis.
As such, issues with the kidneys should be taken very seriously. Here are the causes of kidney disease that you should be on the lookout for.
Your kidneys consist of many nephrons – filtering units that consist of a glomerulus (filter) and a tubule. Nephrons have a dense network of blood vessels flowing to them, so a lot of blood flows through them. When you have uncontrolled high blood pressure, the arteries surrounding your kidneys can harden, narrow, or weaken, causing them to be unable to carry blood to the nephrons. As a result, your kidneys won’t be able to regulate fluids, acids, and salts in the body. The excess fluid in your bloodstream can raise your blood pressure. The increase in blood pressure can further damage the nephrons, which becomes a vicious cycle.
Type I and Type II Diabetes
Type I diabetes occurs when your body doesn’t produce insulin as the result of your immune system attacking your pancreatic cells. With type II diabetes, your body either doesn’t respond to insulin properly, or your pancreas loses its ability to produce enough insulin. If you don’t manage your diabetes well, the uncontrolled high glucose levels can damage the vessels that carry blood to the nephrons.
Diabetes also makes you more prone to infections. Once bacteria enters your urinary tract, it multiplies rapidly. The infection may spread to your kidneys. This issue may affect kidney function if it’s a recurring problem.
Additionally, type I or II diabetes may damage the nerves in your kidneys. Uncontrolled diabetes damages the nerves in your bladder that sense when your bladder is full. Your bladder then fills and places pressure on your kidneys, which can damage them in the long run.
If you have interstitial nephritis, the spaces in between the tubules become inflamed, which affects how your kidneys function. As a result, your kidneys can’t filter like normal, and you can develop chronic kidney disease as a result. This part of your kidneys may become swollen from certain medications like antibiotics. You’re also more at risk for this condition if you’ve taken acetaminophen or a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug on a long-term basis. Autoimmune disorders like Kawasaki disease, Sjorgren syndrome, or systemic lupus erythematosus could increase your risk of interstitial nephritis, as well.
Although it’s uncommon, you can develop chronic kidney disease if you’re a man with an enlarged prostate. An enlarged prostate can cause kidney disease in cases when the enlargement isn’t well managed. Your urethra and prostate gland are in close proximity to one another. When the prostate gland swells, it may interfere with the flow of urine because it blocks urine from passing through the urethra.
In some cases, chronic kidney disease may stem from your lifestyle. For example, you may worsen chronic kidney disease if you smoke, because you prevent proper blood flow to your kidney’s tissue. You also increase your risk of chronic kidney disease if you’re obese. Obesity heightens your risk of type II diabetes and hypertension. It also causes your kidneys to work harder and filter more waste than in someone who isn’t obese.
Kidney Disease Treatment in Boston, MA
At Commonwealth Nephrology Associates, our practitioners are either nephrologists or have completed specialized training in nephrology. Our team understands that chronic kidney disease is a progressive condition and could result in patients needing kidney transplants or contend with routine dialysis. Our goal is to prevent this from occurring, and we can help you take every step possible to keep your kidneys functioning for as long as possible.
Book an appointment with Commonwealth Nephrology Associates, serving Boston and the nearby Massachusetts region, by calling us today at 617-739-2100 or by using our online scheduling tool.