Your kidneys are essential in removing waste from your bloodstream (and forming urine) among other functions, and if they aren’t functioning properly, there can be major health impacts. Symptoms of kidney problems can range from weight loss, fatigue, nausea and blood in the urine, just to name some.
While WebMD says the cause of chronic kidney disease isn’t always obvious, there are some underlying health risks that your doctor may be able to pinpoint causing the problem. Here are six possible health factors leading to chronic kidney disease (kidney disease as a whole affects about 14-percent of Americans)…
WebMD explains that the high blood sugar associated with diabetes could be a culprit when it comes to chronic kidney disease, or CKD for short. It notes that these high levels of sugar can damage blood vessels in the kidneys.
It’s important to manage your diabetes, because continuously increased blood sugar can gradually reduce the function of your kidneys over a period of many years, adds the source. Even without the risk of kidney damage, taking control of diabetes is important for your overall health.
Also referred to as high blood pressure, the Kidney Foundation of Canada says it’s a double-edged sword: hypertension can cause kidney problems, and kidney disease can in turn lead to high blood pressure.
You might not even realize you have high blood pressure, which is why it’s a good idea to ensure your doctor checks it during routine visits, especially if you have a family history of high blood pressure or you’re considered overweight by a medical professional. Those aged 50-and up should also monitor their blood pressure.
3. Urinary Tract Obstructions
There are a number of reasons you may have blockage in your urinary tract, where it’s from kidney stones, enlarged prostate and even some cancers, according to the Mayo Clinic. You have already have some symptoms of these other problems, but prolonged obstruction of the urinary tract can lead to chronic kidney disease, it adds.
Kidney stones in particular can be very painful and cause you to pass blood in your urine. It can also lead to frequent urination, which is another sign of chronic kidney disease. It’s important to let your doctor sort out these problems.
4. High Cholesterol
Your doctor or dietitian is probably always on your case about watching your cholesterol intake, and for good reasons. One of them is that the fatty deposits from “bad” cholesterol can build up in blood vessels that supply the kidneys, making it more difficult for your kidneys to function properly, according to NHS UK.
The NHS explains that while cholesterol is made by your liver and is vital to your overall function, there are some sources from food to avoid. You won’t necessarily have any symptoms of high cholesterol until you get a related problem (which can also include a heart attack or stroke), it adds.
5. Certain Medications
There are some medicines that should be taken with precaution if you already have been diagnosed with kidney problems, while others can lead to kidney trouble. For example, Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), that are commonly available over-the-counter for pain relief , can increase the risk of sudden kidney failure and progressive kidney damage, according to the National Kidney Foundation.
The site notes you shouldn’t use over-the-counter versions for more than 10-days to fight off pain (and no more than 3-days for fever). It also suggests increasing the amount of fluids you’re drinking to 6 to 8-glasses per day if you’re taking these analgesics. Other drugs that can affect the kidneys include alcohol, antibiotics, prescription laxatives, and street drugs (cocaine and heroine), adds the source.
6. Medullary Sponge Kidney
This is a birth defect also known as Cacchi-Ricci disease that can lead to chronic kidney disease, although only in rare cases, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Medullary Sponge Kidney affects the tubes in a kidney, creating cysts (that have a sponge-like appearance) during fetal development. Although the condition is present from birth, patients don’t usually notice symptoms until their teenage years, adds the source.