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Are You at Risk for Kidney Problems?

Return to renal articles

In order to properly monitor kidney function, it is best to undergo a renal panel to find out if your kidneys are functioning at the level they should be for optimal health.

Below is a general list of factors that may increase your risk of developing Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), kidney failure or other renal problems.

Poor eating habits
When we think of the adverse health effects of eating junk food, or low nutritional value food, we often picture conditions like obesity and high cholesterol. Everything we ingest gets filtered through the blood during digestion so eating unhealthy foods adversely affects the kidneys too during the filtration process.

Severe dehydration can cause trouble for normal kidney function and its healthy filtration process. Prolonged dehydration can lead to kidney stones and even kidney failure in extreme cases. It is important to replace the lost water in order to maintain optimum body functions.

Certain medications can negatively impact normal kidney function. It’s important to speak with your physician about the potential side effects of prescribed medications and how, if at all, it may affect your kidney function. Some of the most common medication types that affect the kidney fall into the categories of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and iodine containing medications.

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease. The reason for this is simple, diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to regulate blood sugar levels. This instability leads to high blood sugar levels that make healthy kidney function very difficult.

Low or High Blood Pressure
Having either too high or too low blood pressure can cause problems for the kidneys. When your blood pressure is too low, it is difficult for the kidneys to filter the blood, cleaning it of toxins. When blood pressure is too high, the heart needs to work harder and may damage the blood vessels in the kidneys, not allowing proper filtration to take place.

Frequent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
When the healthy flow of urine is disrupted, the kidneys continue working hard to filter toxins, but when the urine backs up, pressure builds up as the waste cannot be excreted as regularly as needed.

Common Symptoms of Kidney Problems
-abnormal blood or urine tests
-frequent urination
-shortness of breath
-fluid retention