Why Choose Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital for Kidney Disease Treatment?
At Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital, our experienced nephrologists offer a wide range of diagnostic methods and treatment options for patients suffering from kidney disease. Our specialists work with patients to choose a personalized treatment plan that best suits their condition.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) or chronic kidney failure consists of a progressive degradation of the kidney's functions. This condition currently affects more than 25 million Americans.
The kidneys are two symmetrical organs, found on each side of the body. Their main function is the filtration of the blood in order to eliminate waste and excess water. When kidney failure reaches a more advanced stage, harmful substances that were supposed to be eliminated by the kidneys remain in the blood and reach toxic levels.
The first stages of chronic kidney disease can easily go unnoticed, as the first signs and symptoms are not usually very obvious or severe. As a result, in many cases, people find out they are suffering from kidney disease only when they reach the later stages of development of the disease and their kidney functions are already severely affected.
When suffering from CKD, one can develop a wide range of complications, such as hypertension, bone weakness, nerve damage, or anemia. If detected in its early stages, this disease can be treated quite effectively, but if it is diagnosed later on, it can result in kidney failure. Moreover, if kidney disease is diagnosed too late, it may evolve into full-blown kidney failure, which can only be treated with dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Besides kidney transplants, dialysis and medications are the only treatments available for kidney disease.
Treatment that controls
the levels of fluids »
the potassium level »
Medications that treat
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Calcium medications »
There are two main types of kidney disease:
kidney disease »
kidney injury »
Symptoms of Kidney Disease
As kidney disease develops, so do its signs and symptoms, which become more and more severe over time. Because the kidneys are very adaptable organs and can still function even after the onset of kidney disease, it is common for the first symptoms to be rather discreet and mild, which results in a delayed diagnosis of the disease. Unfortunately, when this condition is diagnosed in its later stages, the kidneys have already suffered irreversible damage.
Some of the signs and symptoms associated with kidney disease can be nonspecific, which means that they can be caused by different conditions. It is important to do regular kidney function tests when you suffer from other medical conditions, especially if they increase the risk of kidney disease.
Some of the most common symptoms of kidney disease are:
Diagnosis of Kidney Disease
There are approaches that can be taken when trying to diagnose kidney disease:
- Discussion: The nephrologist will first ask about the patient's medical history, what medications the patient is on, whether the patient has been diagnosed with other conditions or not, and if the patient has noticed any differences in their urinary habits.
- General examination: The second step in diagnosing kidney disease is general examination. During this examination, the doctor will check the patient’s blood pressure, heart condition, and other bodily functions.
- Blood tests: Blood tests are incredibly useful when diagnosing renal problems as they uncover the levels of waste substances present in the blood.
- Imaging tests: In order to diagnose kidney disease, your doctor may choose to perform an ultrasound test in order to have a clear view of the structure and size of your kidneys.
- Urine tests: Another important test performed to diagnose kidney disease is a urine test, which helps the doctor identify a series of abnormalities that can indicate a kidney problem.
- Biopsy: In some cases, the doctor may decide that a biopsy is necessary in order to determine the nature of the kidney disease.
Risk Factors for Kidney Disease
There are certain factors that have been known to increase the risk of kidney disease, such as:
- Age: As people get older, their kidneys become more susceptible to kidney disease.
- Race: Studies have shown that race can play an important role in the incidence of kidney disease, as people of African American and Native American descent are more inclined to develop this condition.
- Sex: There are certain biological factors that make men more susceptible to kidney disease than women.
- Heredity: If you have had many cases of kidney disease in your family, there is an increased chance that you might develop this condition as well.
- Obesity: Being overweight has a negative effect on all the organs, including the kidneys.
- Smoking: This habit increases the chances of developing kidney problems, such as kidney disease.
Causes of Kidney Disease
The most common causes for kidney disease are other conditions which can damage the kidneys and impair their functions. Some of these conditions are:
- Diabetes (type 1 and 2): This condition is one of the most common causes of chronic kidney disease, thus, people who suffer from this condition have a higher risk of developing kidney disease.
- Hypertension: When this condition is not carefully controlled, it can result in damage to the blood vessels, which in turn affects the kidneys.
- Glomerulonephritis: This condition consists of an inflammation of the kidney’s filtering tissue.
- Kidney Cysts: The formation of cysts on or inside the kidneys can trigger the onset of kidney disease.
- Urinary tract obstruction: This condition can be triggered by kidney stones, cancer, or an inflamed prostate.
- Medication: Certain medications, for instance, those that have a non-inflammatory role, can severely damage the kidneys.
People have found a wide range of alternative techniques to treat all sorts of conditions including kidney disease. However, these techniques have not been scientifically confirmed and it is strongly recommended to ask for your doctor’s advice before trying them.
- Yoga: This type of physical exercise is considered beneficial for the kidneys because it can relieve stress.
- Dark foods: Some people believe that by consuming foods that are similar in color to your kidneys, such as black beans or kidney beans, you may help improve their functions.
- Acupuncture: By inserting acupuncture needles in certain places on your body, the acupuncturist aims to strengthen the kidneys. Sometimes, acupuncture can be combined with the technique of moxibustion (another type of therapy that originates from Chinese traditions).
- Infrared therapy: This type of therapy is considered helpful, as it provides warmth to the kidney area, expanding the capillaries and stimulating blood flow.
- Magnesium: Studies have shown that having a good level of magnesium in your blood is beneficial to your kidneys.
- Baking soda: This substance has been used for a very long time to treat a wide range of conditions, including kidney disease. There are doctors who claim that baking soda can postpone the need for dialysis.
- Herbs: Certain herbs, such as Uva Ursi, parsley, horsetail, or juniper have been used to protect the kidneys and to maintain the health of the urinary tract.
Kidney disease is a condition that is not easily predicted or prevented. However, you can reduce the risk for developing this condition by doing the following things:
- Be very careful when taking over-the-counter medications, as some of these medications might be extremely harmful to your kidneys, especially those that contain anti-inflammatory substances.
- Do regular checkups and talk to your doctor frequently. If you notice any changes in your urinary habits, do not hesitate to do a general checkup, as incipient kidney disease is often silent and does not show any major symptoms.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle through a balanced diet and limit your alcohol and caffeine intake.
Do you suspect you might have kidney disease? You can always learn more about kidney problems and how to treat them by getting in touch with our highly-skilled specialists at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital.