Healthy kidneys are essential to your overall health. If your kidneys fail,
you will need lifesaving treatment through
dialysis or transplant to prevent toxins from building up in your body. It is important
to talk to your doctor about your risk for kidney disease and to take
steps to protect the health of your kidneys for life. Here is a closer
look at what your kidneys do and what you need to know about kidney disease.
What do kidneys do?
Kidneys are responsible for removing waste and excess fluid from your body through
the process of creating urine. By removing waste and fluids, the kidneys
balance levels of sodium, potassium, and acid in the body, which is critical
for heart and vascular health. They also release hormones that affect
other parts of the body, including hormones that control blood pressure
and regulate red blood cell production, as well as those that create vitamin
D to protect your bones.
What causes kidneys to malfunction?
Many chronic health conditions can impact the health of the kidneys. Diabetes
is a common culprit, as is high blood pressure. Some people are born with
kidney abnormalities that lead to chronic kidney disease or with an inherited
condition called polycystic kidney disease. The kidneys are also vulnerable
to overuse of over-the-counter pain medications, certain prescription
medications, and illicit drugs like heroin and crack cocaine.
How are kidney problems treated?
In many cases, kidney disease can be managed or reversed by treating the
underlying condition that caused it. For instance, people with diabetes
can prevent existing kidney problems from becoming worse with tight blood
sugar control. When kidney disease is chronic and can’t be treated,
it usually becomes progressive and eventually needs to be managed through
dialysis or transplant.
Kidney disease can lead to a range of complications, including heart attack
and stroke, and it can exacerbate other chronic conditions. At Kendall
Regional Medical Center, our specialists can help you manage these diseases
and reduce the risk of complications. Contact our hospital near Miami
to request a physician referral by calling (305) 222-2200.