The kidneys play a critical role in the body, as they regulate the acid-base balance in the blood. They also produce hormones such as renin that increase blood pressure. They also produce erythropoietin, which helps the body make red blood cells. Additionally, the adrenal gland sits on top of each kidney and produces hormones such as cortisol.
The kidney comprises three central regions – the outer cortex, the medulla, and the renal pelvis. The outer cortex consists of tubules, while the medulla comprises pyramid-shaped structures. In addition, each kidney has numerous filtering units called nephrons.
The adult kidney is approximately three centimeters thick, six centimeters wide, and about twelve centimeters long. The kidney’s structure is very different from other organs in the body, as its size is critical in determining its function. However, its size is not the only important thing to understand about the kidney.
There are several diseases of the kidney, each with its symptoms. Some are relatively common, while others are rare and cause lifelong problems. For example, glomerulonephritis is an inflammation of the glomeruli, the tiny structures inside the kidneys that filter blood. Several factors can contribute to this condition, including infection, drugs, or congenital abnormalities. You may experience chronic pain in the lower back or groin if you develop this disorder. Other kidney diseases include nephrotic syndrome, characterized by damage to the glomerulus and other kidney structures. If this condition is left untreated, it can lead to kidney failure and other complications.
Genetic diseases of the kidney are a subset of systemic hereditary conditions characterized by gene mutations. This subset of disorders contains more than 60 known genetic diseases that affect the kidney. While some of these conditions are mild and may be treated with medications, others may lead to life-threatening complications and require specialized care. Michigan Medicine’s Inherited Kidney Diseases Clinic includes a nephrologist with expertise in genetics. A second clinic, the Glomerular Diseases Clinic, treats diseases of the glomeruli and their physiologic consequences.
Kidney disease is a potentially life-threatening condition. Therefore, it’s essential to seek medical care as soon as you suspect you might have it. Its symptoms may appear as other health issues, such as blood in the urine. However, if caught early enough, the condition can be treated successfully, and you can live a long and healthy life.
Increased urination is one of the most common signs of kidney disease. This is caused by the filters in the kidneys failing to filter the urine. It may also be caused by an infection or an enlarged prostate in men. Another sign of kidney disease is blood in the urine. Kidney stones or tumors can also cause it.
Treatment of kidney disease requires a multidisciplinary approach to prevent kidney damage and restore kidney function. Although there is a wide range of effective treatment options, many of these drugs have numerous adverse effects, including volume depletion, increased bleeding risks, and nephrotoxicity. Additionally, some of these drugs may exacerbate CKD by causing complications in CKD patients. To help ensure that patients can receive the appropriate treatments, Walden is developing a new drug development model that will target the unique mechanisms of kidney function.
The most effective way to treat kidney disease is to address the underlying cause. For instance, antibiotics are commonly used to treat infections in the kidney. Corticosteroids and immunosuppressants may be used for kidney inflammation caused by an immune reaction. However, these drugs only work in some types of nephritis. In addition, eating a low-protein diet can help prevent kidney damage and preserve proper kidney function. Furthermore, diuretic drugs can reduce swelling associated with kidney disease.