Pathology of the KIDNEYS
Gross Anatomy of the Kidneys
Lets start this hub with the gross anatomy of the kidneys. The kidneys can be thought of as the waste filter/disposal system of the body.They are the organs located in the backside of the abdomen and each kidney is about 4inches long which makes it the size of your fist (almost). Around 1/3 of the blood that leaves the heart passes right through the kidneys in order to be filtered before it goes to the rest of the body's tissues.
Function of the kidneys!
The kidneys work to filter the fluid in the body, removing toxins and waste while returning needed substances to the blood. They maintain the purity of fluids in the body and excrete the waste and excess fluids through the urine. But that doesn't stop there, the kidneys help to control blood pressure, produce a hormone needed for red blood cell formation and help to metabolize vitamin D to its active form. But did you know that the kidneys also have a job in maintaining electrolyte (sodium, potassium, bicarbonate) and water balance. As we get older the function of our kidneys declines, nitrogenous waste products that is, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and creatinin accumulate and when kidney failure sets in and progresses kidneys lose their ability to maintain homeostasis (balance), salt, potassium.
Have you ever noticed that sometimes your blood pressure might rise to high or might be a bit low? Well let me tell you that your kidneys are responsible to a certain point for controlling your blood pressure. High blood pressure afflicts the majority of renal failure patients, but can often be controlled by maintaining normal salt balance and giving yourself a dietary salt restriction and/ or the use of water pills. However, in most cases, this is insufficient, and failure to maintain normal blood pressure increases the risk of heart failure, heart attack and stroke.
OUCH! - Kidney Stones!
Has anyone ever told you that they got kidney stones and it hurt so much? And that they were in pain for several days? Well, that my friends is true. Although there is not a single or yet definite cause as to why we get kidney stones, on the other hand most of it has to do with Calcium. Most kidney stones are calcium stones, usually in the form of calcium oxalate. Oxalate is a pretty much a naturally occurring substance found in food. Some fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and chocolate, have high oxalate levels (but of course that doesn't mean you have to stop eating your veggies and fruits.) Calcium stones may also occur in the form of calcium phosphate. The other cause can be Uric Acid. It's a chemical compound that is produced from the natural breakdown of your body's own cell and from the food that we consume on a daily basis. A tiny amount passes out of the body in stool. But if too much uric acid is being produced or if the kidneys are not able to remove it from the blood normally, the level of uric acid in the blood increases which can lead to gout disease.
There are certain signs and symptoms that we should watch for when we think that we have kidney stones. Let's start with the first one and perhaps the most obvious one:
- Severe pain in the side and back, below the ribs
- Pink or brown urine
- nausea and vomiting
- Urinating small amounts of urine
- Bad smelling urine
- Pain during urination
- Increased Urination
- Blood in your urine
You must immediately check in with your doctor if you have any of these signs and symptoms.
Certain things can contribute to the risk of kidney stones. If someone in your family has kidney stones, you're more likely to develop stones, too. Not drinking enough water each day can increase your risk of kidney stones, and not only water itself but if you can mix it in with ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar), or even coconut water is great. Eating a diet that's high in protein, sodium and sugar may increase your risk of some types of kidney stones. This is especially true with a high-sodium diet. That is why we have to make sure what goes in our bodies is healthy and good for us and the last but not least is UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) can also lead to kidney stones.
Remedies for the Stones!
Before I get into the food and drink that are good for kidney stones, let me just say that water consumption is the best thing for stones. It flushes out excessive waste and gives you a cleanse. A pitcher of water on the counter or in the fridge when you're at home and work WILL HELP to remind you that you need to consume water in order to prevent kidney stones. With that being said let's get into the more detailed ways of preventing stones. The first is to eat and drink calcium and oxalate-rich foods together during a meal. In doing so, oxalate and calcium are more likely to bind to one another in the stomach and intestines before the kidneys begin processing, making it less likely that kidney stones will form. Don't reduce the calcium. Work to cut back on the sodium in your diet and to pair calcium-rich foods with oxalate-rich foods and not only that but too much sodium can take a toll on your BP (Blood Pressure) and that can put you at risk for other diseases. Chronic kidney stones are often treated with potassium citrate, but studies have shown that limeade, lemonade and other fruits and juices high in natural citrate offers the same stone-preventing benefits, it is so much better to make the lemonade at home rather than drinking it from outside, due to the fact that the natural homemade one contains no sugar or any artificial flavoring in it. The last thing I want to touch base on is that you should cut down high-purine foods such as red meat, organ meats, and shellfish, and follow a healthy diet that contains mostly vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and low fat dairy products. As the link below has it, cranberry juice is one of the best ways to prevent getting kidney stones and also it's a great way to detoxify your body. Limit alcohol because it can increase uric acid levels in the blood and in some cases leads to kidney failure.
Overall it is important to take care of your kidneys and your overall health. Clinical trials look at safe and effective new ways to prevent, detect, or treat disease related to the kidneys. Thanks to the new technologies and the progress of science we have machines and great people who take care of this.
If you have any of the signs and symptoms of kidney stones please visit your MD or the ED for a treatment ASAP.
PURE CRANBERRY JUICE - NOT CONCENTRATED!
Rate this article on KIDNEYS!
© 2015 Mahsa S