Kidney Health: It's Not Just About Kidney Stones
Recently, film and TV star William Shatner had to be taken from the set of his current TV show to a hospital because of a kidney stone attack. The incident sparked a lot of interest in these tiny rock-like masses that can cause tremendous pain. But kidney stones are the only disorder that afflicts the kidneys. This article describes not just how kidney stones form, but discusses other kidney problems as well.
A kidney is a reddish brown, bean-shaped organ that filterswaste minerals and toxins from the blood. The kidneysregulate acid concentration and the kidneys maintain thewater balance in the human body by producing urine.
Kidneys also make hormones that help keep bones strong bloodhealthy.
Kidneys that aren't functioning properly allow harmfultoxins to build up. This may causes blood pressure to rise,the body will accumulate fluids, and may not produce enoughred blood cells.
Here are the most common kidney problems.
Kidney Stones: A kidney stone is a hard mass thataccumulates in the urinary tract when crystals separate fromthe urine and build up on the inner surfaces of the kidney.In most people, urine contains chemicals that prevent thesecrystals from forming kidney stones. People who suffer fromkidney stones, for reasons that aren't always completelyunderstood, don't have inhibitors that prevent crystalformation.
Anyone who has ever had kidney stones will tell you the paincan be so severe that it reduces them to tears.
Kidney stones are not a product of modern diets orlifestyle. Evidence of kidney stones has been found in 7000year old human remains in Egypt.
Men tend to get kidney stones more often than women.
Kidney Infections: If a person has low resistance, germsfrom the bladder can travel up the ureters to the kidneysand begin to multiply. An acute kidney infection startssuddenly with severe symptoms, then quickly comes to an end.Achronic kidney infection develops slowly and grows worsewith time. A chronic kidney infection can lead to kidneyfailure.
Kidney Cysts: A kidney cyst is an abnormal pouch thatcontains fluid. The simple kidney cyst is the most commonform.
The cause of a simple kidney cyst isn't completelyunderstood. But there's no evidence that kidney cysts are aninherited condition. One or more kidney cysts may develop ata time on the small tubes in the kidneys.
Kidney cysts do not generally present symptoms and usuallykidney cysts cause no harm. Very often people don't evenknow they have a kidney cyst. However, a kidney cyst cancause pain if it grows large enough to press on otherorgans.
Sometimes a kidney cyst can become infected and start tobleed. If that happens, a kidney cyst can increase bloodpressure, but it usually don't impair kidney function.
A kidney cyst won't require treatment if no complicationsare present. But if symptoms occur, a kidney cyst mayrequire surgery.
Kidney Cancer: Kidney cancer accounts for approximatelythree percent of all adult cancers in the United States. TheAmerican Cancer Society reports that more than 30,000 newcases of kidney cancer are diagnosed each year and about12,000 people die from kidney cancer annually.
Kidney cancer tends to appear in adults in middle age,usually after age 50. Kidney cancer strikes men twice asoften as women.
The most common type of kidney cancer occurs in the part ofthe kidney that filters blood and produces the urine. Thistype of kidney cancer is called renal cell cancer, or renalcell carcinoma. Another type of adult kidney cancer is atumor which arises in the part of the kidney where the urinecollects. This type of kidney cancer is called transitionalcell carcinoma. The most frequent sign of kidney cancer inadults is blood in the urine.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
George McKenzie is a freelance writer and CEO of Mastermind
Learning Systems He has suffered from kidney stones since age 12, motivating him to create a kidney health resource site, http://www.kidneys.name