Please upgrade to the latest version of Flash Player.
Since kidney disease does not often produce symptoms in its early stages, many patients may be experiencing deteriorating kidney function without being aware of any problems. Regular kidney function evaluations can detect these conditions in their earliest stages and help slow the progression of damage through advanced prevention and treatment techniques.
There are several different tests that your doctor may perform in order to detect problems or abnormalities with kidney function, which are especially effective in patients who have not yet experienced any symptoms. In many cases, kidney disease is first discovered during a routine blood or urine test. Other patients who may be at a higher risk for developing kidney disease, including those with high blood pressure, diabetes or a family history of kidney conditions, may be tested more frequently.
To evaluate kidney function, your doctor will perform a physical examination as well as comprehensive blood and urine testing. Urine testing involves checking protein or albumin levels, while blood testing monitors the amount of urea nitrogen. Blood pressure testing is also performed, as high blood pressure is one of the leading causes of kidney disease. Based on the results of each patient's evaluation, your doctor will provide you with a customized treatment plan.
Kidney transplant involves replacing a damaged kidney that no longer functions properly with a healthy donor kidney in order to restore proper waste management and blood filtering within the body. This procedure is most often performed on patients with kidney failure or advanced stages of kidney disease after other treatments such as medication and dialysis have not produced successful results.
This procedure is performed after patients are eligible to receive a kidney from a suitable match. It is important for patients to undergo a thorough physical evaluation prior to surgery to determine whether or not they are healthy enough to undergo this procedure. Kidney transplant is performed under general anesthesia and requires a stay in the hospital for several days in order to monitor the patient for any potential complications.
After a successful kidney transplant, patients will no longer need to undergo dialysis treatments, but will likely need to take medication to suppress the immune system and prevent the body from rejecting the new kidney. Additional medications may also be needed to reduce the risk of infection. Your doctor will provide ongoing care to ensure that kidney transplant patients maintain a healthy quality of life after surgery.
While healthy kidneys efficiently filter waste out of the blood and maintain a proper balance of chemicals and water within the body, patients with certain kidney conditions may experience a buildup of fluid in the blood due to kidney malfunction. As fluid accumulates, patients may experience a condition known as edema, which is a swelling that tends to occur in the feet and legs, although it can occur nearly anywhere in the body.
Patients with edema may experience pain, bloating and tightness in the affected area, which tends to increase throughout the day. Fluid buildup may also result in a decrease in urine production or urine that appears frothy due to the excess protein.
Treatment for fluid buildup and edema aims to reduce the amount of protein that is filtered out of the blood and into the urine in order to relieve fluid retention and subsequent swelling. This can be done by restricting salt in the diet and through medications called diuretics.
Electrolytes are ionized materials found naturally in the body that help balance pH levels, as each molecule carries either a positive or negative charge. Common electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride and more, which also help regulate the function of many bodily systems. Imbalanced electrolyte levels may develop as a result of impaired kidney function and can cause troubling symptoms.
Healthy kidneys regulate these substances and restrict significant fluctuations. However, when the kidneys do not function properly, an imbalance may occur as a result of poor diet, disease, dehydration or other factors. Symptoms of these conditions can vary depending on the type and severity of the disorder, but often include fatigue, weakness, weight loss, nausea, confusion and more.
Treatment for electrolyte disorders depends on the type and underlying cause of the condition, but may include dietary changes, stopping certain medications or electrolyte replacement therapy, which can be administered either orally or intravenously. Hemodialysis may also be used to treat these conditions and reduce potassium levels in patients with impaired kidney function.