The kidneys are a pair of organs located on either side of the spinal cord in the upper abdominal area (the flank). This organ is heavily protected by muscle, the rib cage, and the spine. This protection is important because the kidneys are highly vascular. If certain types of kidney damage occur, there is a high risk of severe bleeding. The kidneys are responsible for filtering an average of 1700 liters of blood everyday to remove waste as urine. Because of this function the kidneys are exposed to more potentially toxic elements than virtually any other organ in the body. This makes the kidneys highly susceptible to toxic injuries.
Kidney damage often occurs when the veins and arteries are injured. This type of kidney damage may take the form of an aneurysm, arteriovenous fistula, renal vein thrombosis (blood clot), or arterial blockage. Serious bleeding can occur when kidney damage is sustained. The degree of bleeding will depend on the location and severity of the injury. People with undiagnosed kidney conditions, like a benign tumor or UPJ obstruction, are at an increased risk of kidney damage from injury. Medical procedures can also cause kidney damage.
There are a number of external compounds that are toxic to the kidney. One of the most common sources of toxic injury to the kidney is analgesic nephropathy. Kidney damage can occur from exposure to lead, cleaning products, fuels, solvents, and other chemical compounds. Illicit drugs, like heroine and cocaine, may cause kidney damage when used or abused. Some prescription medications can also cause kidney damage.
Most drugs are processed through the liver, though some are cleared by the kidneys. Many of the latter drugs have the potential to cause kidney damage with excessive or prolonged use. Arthritis treatments (including NSAIDs), anti-HIV drugs, anti-cancer treatments, antifungals (fluconazole), and other drugs processed through the kidneys all have the potential to cause kidney damage. Drugs that prompt an immune response can also cause damage to the kidneys.
There are a number of symptoms of kidney damage including: blood in the urine, flank pain, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, back pain, fever, drowsiness, coma, increased heart beat, sweating, cold clammy skin, difficulty urinating, irritability, weight loss, and constipation.
Kidney damage can be diagnosed after a patient experiences relevant symptoms, physical injury, exposure to toxic substances, recent infections, or other illnesses. Urinalysis, blood tests, x-rays, a renal scan, and other tests can be done to diagnose kidney damage. There are some medications and surgical options that can be used to treat kidney problems. If a medication is the cause of kidney damage, the physician may recommend the individual stop taking the medication. A patient should speak with their physician before making any changes to their current medication use. After treatment, a kidney's function may be restored or chronic liver failure may result. If the other kidney is functioning normally, there may not be any symptoms of this chronic kidney damage.
Kidney Failure News