Kidney 102 – What Happens When Your Kidneys Don’t Work Properly?


Hello all,

Today we are continuing our discussion on KIDNEY Basics and will talk more about what happens when your kidneys don’t work properly. Remember knowledge is power!

We learned the WHAT, WHERE and HOW of kidneys

in KIDNEY 101. We know that our kidneys are powerful chemical factories that perform vital functions:

  • Remove waste products from the body
  • Remove drugs from the body
  • Balance the body’s fluids
  • Release hormones that regulate blood pressure
  • Produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones
  • Control the production of red blood cells

If your kidneys are not working properly then they may not be able to perform all these important functions and complications may arise.  When your kidneys’ ability to filter the blood is seriously damaged by disease, then wastes and excess fluid may build up in the body.

Kidney disease is often called a “silent disease” because many forms of kidney disease do not produce obvious symptoms until late in the course of the disease. This is why it is important to understand your risk for kidney disease.

Talk to your doctor about your risk and about what you can do to prevent kidney disease.  If you are at risk, get tested early.  This will allow for early diagnosis and early intervention to slow the progression of the disease.

There are six warning signs of kidney disease:

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Blood and/or protein in the urine
  3. A creatinine and Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) blood test, outside the normal range. BUN and creatinine are waste that build up in your blood when your kidney function is reduced
  4. A glomerular filtration rate (GFR) less than 60. GFR is a measure of kidney function
  5. More frequent urination, particularly at night; difficult or painful urination
  6. Puffiness around eyes, swelling of hands and feet.

If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor and take action!

There are many forms of kidney disease and we will talk more about these diseases in detail in future articles.

Yours in good health

Dr. Christopher Brown

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