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Kidney Problems - Causes

Overview | Causes | Diagnosis | Treatment | FAQ

Kidney Infection

A kidney infection occurs when bacteria in the bladder spreads into the ureters and kidneys. Repeated infections can cause kidney damage and, later, kidney failure.

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Your kidneys filter out chemicals, wastes, and fluids that your body does not need. Some of these chemicals do not dissolve well and form crystals in the urine. Small crystals pass from the kidneys to the bladder. However, sometimes the crystals are larger, and cannot pass easily through the urinary tract. A clump of crystals of un-dissolved material in the urinary system is a stone. There are many substances that can make up a stone. A stone blocking the urinary system can be painful and dangerous.

Kidney Failure

Your kidneys keep your body functioning normally. They filter out the wastes and toxins your body does not need. When the kidneys start failing, toxic wastes build up in the blood. Blood salts like potassium and sodium can not be regulated properly. When the kidneys are not able to cleanse wastes from the body, fluid and chemical imbalance occurs. This imbalance can lead to fluid retention, swelling, irregular heartbeat and death.

  • Acute kidney failure - This is sometimes a reversible condition. It can be caused by an infection, kidney inflammation, ingestion of poison, serious injury, massive blood loss, burns, or medicine.

  • Chronic kidney failure - This can be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure, congenital kidney problems, recurrent kidney infections, kidney stones, or an enlarged prostate that blocks the flow of urine.

  • End-stage kidney failure or renal disease - This means that the damage is severe enough that the kidneys are not working adequately. This is a permanent failure of the kidneys. The fluid and chemical imbalance in the body becomes serious when kidney damage is severe and must be treated.

Kidney Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society 2002 Statistics, neoplasms of the kidney account for 3% of all male cancers and approximately 2% of female cancers.

The most common kidney cancers:

  • Renal Cell Carcinoma - Arises from the proximal tubular cell of the glomerulus and is an adenocarcinoma. This is by far the most common malignancy of the kidney.

    • The classic triad of symptoms traditionally associated with renal cell carcinoma (which are hematuria, flank pain, and weight loss) are now rarely seen.

    • It is much more common for renal cell carcinomas to be diagnosed incidentally during evaluation for abdominal pain or other abdominal complaint

  • Wilm's Tumor

  • Transitional Cell Carcinoma

  • Angiomyolipoma

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