Since kidney function tends to decline, it is especially important that we pay adequate attention to kidneys as we grow older. Moreover, kidney function relating to bone health becomes more crucial in advanced age since it is the key player in acid-alkaline balance in the bloodstream. Additionally, apart from balancing pH, kidneys also filter bone damaging toxins & determine which minerals & vitamins are required to be excreted or reintroduced into blood circulation. Osteoporosis drugs have also unfortunately been implicated in kidney damage & therefore provide a compelling reason so as to avoid them. Nevertheless, kidneys are at the center of bone-health & must therefore be vitally tracked for proper functioning.
Composed of two small bean shaped organs which are located below ribs around middle portion of back region, kidneys along with liver play an extremely important role in detoxifying blood by filtering & removing waste products generated through breakdown of body tissue & consumption of food. Kidneys also effectively regulate balance of minerals & water in body, especially potassium & sodium, while converting vitamin D into active form which is very important for maintaining healthy bones.
Kidney disease can almost affect any one of us. Common causes for kidney disease include diabetes, high blood pressure & inflammation in filter within kidneys. Various kidney problems often result from side effects of HAART medications & HIV which can cause inflammation of kidneys (Glomerulonephritis). Some other common types of kidney problems include kidney stones, minimal change disease, polycystic kidney disease, Diabetic Kidney, Alport syndrome, Fabry disease, IgA Nephropathy & Nephrotic syndrome.
Certain people are more likely to develop types of kidney disease in addition to risk factors involving HIV or HIV medications. People at greater risk of developing kidney diseases include people of African ancestry, older people having diabetes, people having lower CD4 count, High Blood Pressure, higher viral load or hepatitis B or C.
Signs & symptoms of kidney problems generally include severe pain in sides & lower back, difficult or painful urination, inability to urinate or blood in urine. Some patients may also experience brown or red discoloration or frothy urine. Symptoms of advanced Kidney Failure include drowsiness, muscle cramps, headaches, nausea, tiredness, fatigue & eventual darkening of skin. Best way to track health of kidneys is through specific tests. Urine tests can effectively check levels of nitrites, blood, ketones, sugar & proteins along with red & white blood cells. Blood Urea Nitrogen or BUN can measure amount of nitrogen in blood which is normally removed by kidneys. Most often, high nitrates are due to dehydration, high-protein diets, heart, or kidney failure. Doctors can also measure level of Creatinine in blood which is normally created when muscle break down & high levels are usually caused due to kidney problems.
Blood & urine tests are the most effective way so as to check whether kidneys are doing a good job as they clean blood to make urine. Something may be considered wrong when blood or urine samples show high level of substances kidneys should be filtering. Knowing the type of tests & what these results mean is a good way of tracking normal kidney function & evaluate how body is doing over time.
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