Kidney Disease (Renal Disease): Causes, Symptoms, & Treatments
Kidneys are some of the essential organs in a human body. They serve a multitude of purposes, perhaps most importantly and notably as the main player in the urinary function of the body. Kidneys not only filter the blood in a body, but they also remove wastes and toxins for excretion and maintain blood pressure by regulating a proper salt and water balance in the body. Kidneys also regulate various metabolic activities through their hormonal secretions and maintain the acid-base balance in the body. Without our kidneys, our body would be unable to function at all, which is why kidney disease can be a tragic and dangerous condition.
There are a number of different diseases that afflict the kidneys. Perhaps the most common are kidney stones, but chronic kidney disease is arguably the worst, in terms of the impact that it can have on your life, including being fatal in the most serious cases. Kidney disease comes in two forms, either acute or chronic. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is also known as chronic renal disease, and the condition is characterized by the gradual loss of renal function over the course of weeks, months, or years. The inability to control that organ system can be an embarrassing, painful, and unhealthy way to live, so finding ways to reduce the chances of contracting the disease, or reducing the symptoms if you do suffer from CKD is an important area of study.
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Causes of Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease is often seen in people that have a genetic or inherited predisposition towards CKD, or patients who suffer from high blood pressure or diabetes. That being said, other people can suffer from kidney failure or chronic kidney disease, as there is no clear cause in many cases. Unfortunately, just as with the cause, there is also no known cure, but the condition progresses in five stages. It can be properly managed and treated to slow the progression, but inevitably, the only real solution for the condition is a kidney replacement or extended dialysis.
Symptoms of Kidney Disease
In the first stage of a kidney disease, you might not be able to identify the symptoms, as they are more common and less specific. And therefore, for a better clarity of kidney disease symptoms, we’ll discuss them below.
Fatigue is one the major symptoms of a kidney disease. When your kidneys start to fail, they stop producing erythropoietin (EPO) hormone, which is responsible for oxygen-carrying red blood cells. This results in anemia, causing muscle weakness and tires up your brain.
Anemia can further result in other conditions like a feeling of cold, shortness of breath, dizziness, memory issues, etc.
Kidney disease can also cause swelling in the legs, hands, feet, face, etc. This is because of the excess accumulation of fluids in your body.
Since the kidney won’t be doing its job of removing waste from the body, you can experience severe itching on your body.
You may also experience problems in urination, like difficulty in passing urine, discoloration, blood in urine, and bubbles or foam in urine.
One may also suffer from hyperkalemia (excess potassium in the blood), increased blood pressure, atherosclerosis (deposition of cholesterol in the blood vessels and arteries, often resulting in strokes, heart attacks, and cardiovascular diseases), sexual dysfunction, and loss of libido.
Other symptoms include weight loss, nausea, and vomiting.
Treatments & Home Remedies for Kidney Disease
Some of the treatments and home remedies for kidney disease include medical treatments like dialysis and kidney transplant, reducing the amount of salt in your diet, eating less potassium and lowering your amount of protein intake. Other remedies include intake of dandelion, parsley juice, aloe vera juice, cranberry juice, apple cider vinegar, herbal tea, buchu, and barberry. These are some of the most well-known and trusted ways to treat various kidney diseases. While medical treatments help in curing the condition, following a proper diet can actually help prevent or reduce the symptoms of kidney diseases. We have discussed all of them in greater detail below.
Medical treatments for kidney disease include the use of medicines like Captopril, Lisinopril, Losartan, etc. Although medicines work in most cases, a chronic kidney disease may also call for a dialysis or kidney transplant. In dialysis, the machine takes over the kidney function — there are two types of dialysis, one is hemodialysis and the other one is peritoneal dialysis. While dialysis requires a minor surgery, a kidney transplant involves a major surgery. Not just that, but in the case of a kidney transplant, you also might have to wait for longer periods of time.
Reduction of Salt
Due to the excessive strain put on the body by kidney disease and failure, adding salt to the body makes the situation much more difficult. The loss of potassium into the urine means that there is almost always too much salt in the body in terms of the necessary balance. Therefore, you should adopt a low-salt diet to make sure the fluid balance in the body remains appropriate. Eating frozen foods and convenience style meals are notoriously high in salt. Add fresh vegetables and fruit to your diet, and avoid adding too much spice and salts to your meat dishes and other meals.
Although one of the problems is salt in the diet, choosing low potassium foods is also recommended. The excess of all types of minerals can be dangerous when not balanced, and sodium occasionally outweighs potassium. Therefore, avoiding high potassium concentration foods like bananas, oranges, potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes are recommended. This particular remedy is actually dependent on the case. Some doctors will tell you to increase your potassium intake, while others will tell you to reduce it.
Lower Your Protein Intake
An excess amount of protein in the body can also exacerbate the problem of kidney disease, although one of the symptoms of kidney disease is a loss of protein. It is a very challenging disease to treat, because many of the things that can make a person better for most diseases can actually make the situation worse with this specific form of renal disease.
Perhaps the simplest way of solving kidney issues is to simply flood the body with water. This will stimulate urination, which is the body’s primary way of releasing liquid as well as toxins. Urine is made up of fats, protein, water, and excess salts. Therefore, by drinking 6-8 glasses of water every day, you can flush your system and help to reduce a number of toxins that are accumulating in your kidney, therefore delaying the need for dialysis and slowing the progression of kidney disease.
In the case of a kidney disease, following a proper diet is very crucial. This diet includes the consumption of dandelion, parsley juice, herbal tea, and much more. We have discussed them in detail below.
Dandelion is a good source of vitamin A and has been used in traditional medical systems to cure various health ailments including kidney diseases. Research suggests that it has diuretic properties and may help in treating kidney diseases.
Parsley is a perfect kidney cleanser and is used for the home treatment of kidney disease around the world. Parsley is a rich source of vitamin A, B, and C, as well as thiamin, riboflavin, potassium, and copper. Chop up the parsley leaves and boil them in a pot of water. You can then drink this water when it is cool. It can improve the general health and toxicity levels within your kidney, whether it is a preventative measure or a treatment to slow the progression of the disease once it begins. Parsley is also a diuretic substance, which helps flush out toxins.
There are a number of very good herbal teas that are often prescribed for the treatment of kidney disease. Some of the most common recommended blends are green tea, marshmallow tea, blueberry tea, gravel root tea, and dandelion tea. These are some of the most popular and effective herbal varieties and have been used in various countries around the world as a home remedy for kidney disease since these teas are packed with antioxidants and detoxifying compounds that keep the kidneys functioning properly.
Cranberry juice is recommended to treat all sorts of kidney issues, and is probably the most widely known and utilized form of a home remedy since cranberry juice is so widely available and delicious to drink as well. The organic compounds found in cranberries are very effective for reducing the severity of infections in the kidney. Drink 2-3 glasses of cranberry juice during periods of inflammation or irritation in the kidneys. This is also a good method for preventing the development of kidney infections. However, it is important not to drink too much cranberry juice, as the potent fruit juice can be toxic in extremely high concentrations.
Aloe Vera Juice
Aloe Vera is used in so many different health treatments for various conditions, so it comes as no surprise that it will also be beneficial for treating kidney infections. The healing and antioxidant properties make Aloe Vera a powerful tool in the battle against kidney disease.
Apple Cider Vinegar
When you mix apple cider vinegar with some honey in a large glass of water and drink this once or twice every day, you can seriously improve your chances of preventing kidney disease, or keeping the symptoms to a manageable level.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil can be used in many different recipes and foods. In fact, it can replace almost all of the other oils you use for most preparations. Extra virgin olive oil is well known to soothe inflammation and also detoxify the body. Therefore, it is ideal for slowing down the progression of kidney disease.
If you follow these treatments and monitor the way your body is functioning, you can live a long and happy life. However, it is a very serious health condition, so it is a good idea to see a doctor and get professional help.