Causes of Kidney Failure

What causes kidney failure?

The main cause of chronic kidney disease in America is diabetes, followed by high blood pressure.

Diabetes happens when your blood sugar is too high, causing damage to many organs in your body, including the kidneys and heart, as well as blood vessels, nerves and eyes.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when the pressure of your blood against the walls of your blood vessels increases. If uncontrolled, or poorly controlled, high blood pressure can be a leading cause of heart attacks, strokes and chronic kidney disease.

Long standing hypertension deteriorates the small vessels of the kidneys. As a result, there is no proper handling of the salt and fluids. This causes the accumulation of salt and fluids, and more hypertension. As the small vessels of the kidney progressively harden, the kidney progressively loses its function.

Other conditions that affect the kidneys are the following:

• Glomerulonephritis, a group of diseases that cause inflammation and damage to the kidney’s filtering units. These disorders are the third most common type of kidney disease.
• Inherited diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease, which causes large cysts to form in the kidneys and damage the surrounding tissue.
• Malformations that occur as a baby develops in its mother’s womb. For example, a narrowing may occur that prevents normal outflow of urine and causes urine to flow back up to the kidney. This causes infections and may damage the kidneys.
• Lupus and other diseases that affect the body’s immune system.
• Obstructions caused by problems like kidney stones, tumors or an enlarged prostate gland in men.
• Bacterial infections of the throat, urinary tact or, skin
• Syphilis,
• tuberculosis
• hepatitis(B and C)
• HIV disease
• Antibiotics( penicillins, Sulfa, Vancomycin, etc)
• Aspirin containing analgesics commonly used for pain
• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Motrin, Ibuprofen, Advil, Indocin)
• Diuretics ( hydrochlorothiazide, furosemide, etc)
• Kidney stones
• Tumors of the abdomen and pelvis
• Prostatic hypertrophy in men
• Dehydration due to excess heat exposure, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
• Excess exercise may cause muscle damage and this can also cause severe renal injury.
• Protein in the urine, whether as a result of inherited or acquired diseases, may cause deterioration of renal function over time
• In addition, malignant diseases like colon cancer, multiple myeloma, lymphoma, and renal cell carcinoma, can affect the kidneys.
• More recently a new link of heavy smoking and kidney disease has been found as well.

Is anemia associated with kidney problems?

Yes. The kidneys produce the hormone erythropoietin. Low levels of this hormone (which may happen when the kidneys fail) generally result in anemia (low production of red cells).

Is kidney disease hereditary?

In some cases kidney condition may be hereditary. This is the case of polycystic kidney disease, which is inherited generation after generation.