Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Introduction To Kidney Disease

I had answered an interesting question earlier today. Not once, but twice.

"Why don't doctors clean out a person's kidney with special instruments? Get in all the nooks and crannies so that the kidney will work"?

Well, I wish it was that simple.

Kidneys that are failing have scars. Irreversible scars. Once a kidney is damaged you can not get that kidney function back. Kidneys do much more than filter urine. They get rid of the toxins in our blood that we build up in our body such as CO2. They help produce red blood cells so we can have oxygen flow through our body. If it wasn't for our kidneys the rest of the organs in our body would die from being poisoned. This is just the icing on the cake.

Chronic kidney failure is not caused by an obstruction. Acute renal failure can be caused by a kidney stone blocking the ureter into the bladder. That can be reversed by surgery or lithotripsy. Chronic Renal Failure is usuaslly caused by an underlying disease such as diabetes, hypertension, PKD, or autoimmune diseases to name a few. Mine was caused by Sjogren's Syndrome with a heavy impact of renal tubular acidosis.

Renal tubular acidosis (RTA) is a medical condition that involves an accumulation of acid in the body due to a failure of the kidneys to appropriately acidify the urine.[1] When blood is filtered by the kidney, the filtrate passes through the tubules of the nephron, allowing for exchange of salts, acid equivalents, and other solutes before it drains into the bladder as urine. The metabolic acidosis that results from RTA may be caused either by failure to recover sufficient (alkaline) bicarbonate ions from the filtrate in the early portion of the nephron (proximal tubule) or by insufficient secretion of (acid) hydrogen ions into the latter portions of the nephron (distal tubule). Although a metabolic acidosis also occurs in those with renal insufficiency, the term RTA is reserved for individuals with poor urinary acidification in otherwise well-functioning kidneys. Several different types of RTA exist, which all have different syndromes and different causes.

That concludes your class to Introduction to Kidney Disease. :)

1 comment:

Julia said...

Vicky - this is a great answer to an interesting question. Glad to hear that you are making progress toward your transplant!