See what questions
a doctor would ask.
Article title: Kidney Diseases: NWHIC
Healthy kidneys clean the blood by filtering out extra water and wastes. They also make hormones that keep your bones strong and blood healthy. When both of your kidneys fail, your body holds fluid. Your blood pressure rises. Harmful wastes build up in your body. Your body doesn't make enough red blood cells. When this happens, you need treatment to replace the work of your failed kidneys. Each year in the United States, more than 50,000 people are diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), a serious condition in which the kidneys fail to rid the body of wastes. ESRD is the final stage of a slow deterioration of the kidneys, a process known as nephropathy.
Symptoms related to kidney failure usually occur only in late stages of the disease, when kidney function has diminished to less than 25 percent of normal capacity. For many years before that point, kidney disease of diabetes exists as a silent process.
Since one of the big risk factors for diabetes-based ESRD is hypertension, drugs used to lower blood pressure (antihypertensive drugs) can slow the progression of kidney disease significantly. One drug, an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor, has proven effective in preventing progression to stages IV and V.1 Calcium channel blockers, another class of antihypertensive drugs, also show promise.
Some, but not all, calcium channel blockers may be able to decrease proteinuria (loss of protein into the urine) and damage to kidney tissue. Researchers are investigating whether combinations of calcium channel blockers and ACE inhibitors might be more effective than either treatment used alone. Patients with even mild hypertension or persistent microalbuminuria (presence of albumin, a component of protein, in the urine) should consult a physician about the use of antihypertensive medicines.
A diet containing reduced amounts of protein may benefit people with kidney disease of diabetes. In people with diabetes, excessive consumption of protein may be harmful. Experts recommend that most patients with stage III or stage IV nephropathy consume moderate amounts of protein.
If you have diabetes:
Have your doctor measure your glycohemoglobin regularly. The HbA1c test averages your level of blood sugar for the previous 1-3 months.
Follow your doctor's advice regarding insulin injections, medicines, diet, exercise, and monitoring your blood sugar.
Have your blood pressure checked several times a year. If blood pressure is high, follow your doctor's plan for keeping it near normal levels.
Ask your doctor whether you might benefit from receiving an ACE inhibitor.
Have your urine checked yearly for microalbumin and protein. If there is protein in your urine, have your blood checked for elevated amounts of waste products such as creatinine.
Ask your doctor whether you should reduce the amount of protein in your diet.
The urinary tract, or system, consists of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located below the ribs toward the middle of the back. The kidneys remove extra water and wastes from the blood, converting it to urine. They also keep a stable balance of salts and other substances in the blood. The kidneys produce hormones that help form red blood cells.
Narrow tubes called ureters carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder, a triangle-shaped chamber in the lower abdomen. Like a balloon, the bladder's elastic walls stretch and expand to store urine. They flatten together when urine is emptied through the urethra to outside the body.
You can find out more about kidney stones and kidney disease by contacting the following organizations:
Prevention and Treatment of Kidney Stones 800-644-6627
Understanding Kidney Stones...Management for a Lifetime 800-333-3032
American Foundation for Urologic Disease 800-242-2383
National Kidney Foundation 800-622-9010
Oxalosis and Hyperoxaluria Foundation 800-484-9698 ext: 5100
You can find out more information about hyperparathyroidism by contacting the following organizations:
You can find out more information about gout by contacting the following organizations:
National Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Information
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20892
International Society of Nephrology
Department of Nephrology
University of Florida
P.O. Box 100224
Gainesville, Florida 32610-0231
International Society for Peritoneal Dialysisc/o James F. Winchester,
Georgetown University School of Medicine
3800 Reservoir Road, NW
Washington, DC 20007
Intersociety Council for Research for the Kidney and Urinary
Children's Memorial Hospital
2300 Children's Plaza
Mail Stop #37
Chicago, IL 60614
Interstitial Cystitis Association
P.O. Box 1553
Madison Square Station
New York, New York 10159
(800) ICA-1626 or (212) 979-6057
FAX (212) 677-6139
National Association for Continence (Formerly; Help for Incontinent
P.O. Box 8306
Spartanburg, South Carolina 29305-8306
(803) 579-7900 or (800) BLADDER
National Association of Nephrology Technologists and Technicians
11 West Monument Avenue
Dayton, OH 45402
National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
P.O. Box 8923
New Fairfield, Connecticut 06812-8923
(800) 999-6673 or (203) 746-6518
North American Society for Dialysis and Transplantation
Houston, Texas 77030
North American Transplant Coordinators
P.O Box 15384
Lenexa, Kansas 66285-5384
Organ Transplant Fund
1027 South Yates Road
Memphis, Tennessee 38119
(800) 489-3863 or (901) 684-1697
c/o New York Medical College
Valhalla, New York 10595
Renal Physicians Association
2011 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006-1808
The Simon Foundation for Continence
P.O. Box 815
Wilmette, Illinois 60091
Society of Government Service Urologists
7027 Weathered Post
San Antonio, Texas 78238
Society for Pediatric Urology
100 UCLA Medical Plaza
Los Angeles, California 90095
Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates
East Holly Avenue
Pitman, NJ 08071-0056
Fax: (609) 589-7463
The Transplant Foundation
8002 Discovery Drive
Richmond, Virginia 23229
FAX (804) 288-2408
University Hospital-SUNY at Stony Brook
Department of Surgery - Health Science Center
T-19, Room 040
Stony Brook, New York 11794-8192
United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)
1100 Boulders Parkway
P.O. Box 13770
Richmond, Virginia 23225
(800) 24-DONOR or (804) 330-8500
United Ostomy Association
36 Executive Park
Irvine, California 92714
(800) 826-0826 or (714) 660-8624
Department of Urology
200 First Street, SW
Rochester, MN 55905
All material contained in the FAQs is free of copyright restrictions, and may be copied, reproduced, or duplicated without permission of the U.S. Office on Women's Health; citation of the source is appreciated.
Publication date: March 2001
Search Specialists by State and City