Kidney disease may be either a
primary condition, such as kidney stones, or a consequence of other
disorders, such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, or diabetes – all of
which can severely damage the organs' blood vessels. Older men are
susceptible to kidney infections stemming from enlargement of the prostate.
Pregnant women and diabetics are vulnerable to infections of the urinary
tract. Side effects from drugs are common and preventable causes of serious
kidney disorders. For example, acetaminophen, aspirin, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and calcium with vitamin D
supplements are among the nonprescription drugs that can damage kidneys;
combining aspirin and acetaminophen is especially damaging. Whenever you see
your doctor, be sure to mention any over-the-counter medications or vitamin
supplements you have been taking, even if occasionally.
should not wait for problems to crop up; rather, they should try to follow a
diet that will help prevent kidney disorders. Drink plenty of liquids to
flush the urinary system and replace lost fluids, and consume a low-fat diet
that emphasizes starchy foods, vegetables, and fruits.
Diet is crucial in
treating kidney problems. if you have a serious kidney disease, your doctor
will probably refer you to a clinical dietitian for advice concerning
changes to your diet. The allowable types and portions of foods differ,
depending upon the type and severity of the kidney disorder.
Approximately 1 in 10
North Americans receives treatment for kidney stones each year; men
outnumber women about three to one. Some people suffer their first attack
after taking up a steady exercise program, such as jogging, and failing to
drink enough fluids to replace the amount lost in sweat. At least half of
those who suffer one attack will have a recurrence.
Kidney stones form
when crystalline minerals – normally flushed away in the urine – stick
together to form clumps, ranging in size from a grain of sand to coarse
gravel. The cause may be gout or another metabolic problem, or it may be a
structural or metabolic abnormality within the kidney. When kidney stones
block any part of the urinary system, especially the ureters or bladder,
they cause intense pain. Stones may pass through the system; others must be
removed surgically or by sound-wave treatment (lithotripsy).
In order to
prevent recurrences, it is important to determine the cause of the kidney
stones. Most are formed of calcium oxalate or calcium phosphate. Less
commonly, stones may form from uric acid crystals, especially in people with
gout. A fourth type, cystine stones, occurs in fairly rare metabolic
Fluids, fluids and more fluids. Regardless of the type of
stone, it's essential to drink enough liquids to maintain fluid balance and
flush away the minerals that accumulate to form stones. most people with
stones could reduce the risk of recurrence by increasing their fluid intake
(plain water is best) so that they excrete about 2 qt ( 2 liters ) of urine
Another beverage to consider is fresh lemonade, sweetened with as
little sugar as possible. Lemons are loaded with citric acid, which has been
shown to decrease urinary calcium excretion. Although most stones contain
calcium, it's not a good idea to cut down on dietary calcium unless your
doctor specifically orders it. if the body fails to get enough calcium, it
will rob the bones to get the mineral, thus increasing the danger of
Phosphorus-rich foods contribute to the formation of
calcium phosphate stones. The balance of phosphorus and calcium in the
diet is very delicate, however, and restricting the intake of one may
interfere with the other. A dietitian's or doctor's guidance is necessary
when changing your intake of either essential mineral to maintain balanced
Cut down on foods high in oxalate. Oxalate-rich foods
include rhubarb, beets, nuts, tofu, chocolate, tea, berries, red currants,
tangerines, wheat bran and wheat germ, most of the dark green leafy
vegetables, sweet potatoes, baked beans, lentils, and beer. It doesn't pay
to take a drastic approach, however; eliminating all these foods depletes
the diet of essential vitamins and minerals. A doctor or dietitian will
provide a list of foods that can be eaten in moderation with little risk of
causing a recurrence. people with gout should keep to a low-purine diet to
reduce the risk of uric acid stones.
the kidney – known medically as nephritis – may result from a bacterial
infection or a number of other causes, including side effects of drugs.
Infections sometimes arise elsewhere in the body and reach the kidneys
through the bloodstream, or enter the body through the urinary tract and
travel up through the bladder tot he kidneys. Kidney infections, like
stones, require a doctor's intervention and must be treated with
antibiotics. No special dietary measures should be necessary; however,
people with kidney infections should drink plenty of fluids. A daily glass
of cranberry juice helps prevent recurrence of urinary tract infections in
failure may be either a temporary response to acute shock or injury or a
severe long-term state necessitating drastic treatment. Acute kidney failure
may be caused by severe infection, burns, diarrhea or vomiting, poisoning (
including drug effects or interactions ), surgery, or kidney injury. When
the problem is resolved, function usually returns to normal. Chronic kidney
failure may be caused by untreated hypertension, poorly controlled diabetes,
or an inborn condition. Severe chronic, or end-stage, kidney failure
requires regular dialysis – in which a machine removes waste products from
the blood – or where possible, kidney transplantation.
Diet is extremely
important in the management of kidney failure. General recommendations
include restricting phosphorus, potassium, protein, and salt. Fluids must be
monitored. With too little, the electrolytes are out of balance; with too
much, fluid retention causes edema and electrolyte problems, and contributes
to high blood pressure and perhaps congestive heart failure. Protein needs
must be adjusted as kidney function, dialysis, or stress levels change.
Studies show that if protein is limited to about 0.5 g per pound ( 1 g per
kilogram ) of body weight per day, the patient on dialysis will receive the
essential amino acids but reduce the risk of further kidney damage, proteins
from fish, egg whites, and legume and grain combinations are preferable to
those in meat because they contain less saturated fat.
requires highly specialized medical care. No changes in diet should be made
without a doctor's approval. Consult regularly with a specialist dietitian
who will monitor the diet and make any necessary adjustments in the amounts
of nutrients, including vitamin and mineral supplements.