Most of us know that the major function of our kidneys is to remove toxins and excess fluid from the body and they play a key role in maintaining a stable balance of body chemicals. They also produce hormones that affect the functioning of other organs. For instance, a hormone produced by the kidneys regulates the production of red blood cells. But, what happens when your kidneys stop functioning properly and what causes hindrance in their functioning?
When your kidneys don’t work properly, you may develop kidney failure. When they stop functioning, harmful wastes and fluids can build up in your body, your blood pressure may rise, and your body may not be able to make enough red blood cells.
Types of kidney diseases:
Chronic Kidney Failure – A gradual loss of kidney function that results from a long-term disease. It is the most common type of kidney failure, which cannot be reversed, but can be managed through medicines, regular checkups and dialysis.
Acute Kidney Failure – This happens as a result of the sudden loss of kidney function due to an injury or harmful substances. It can usually be reversed if treated on time in a majority of cases.
End-stage Renal Disease – It is a condition where kidneys do not work at all or only very little. Patients with this condition need some form of renal replacement therapy, e.g. Kidney replacement or regular dialysis.
What causes kidney to stop working?
There are a number of factors that affect the functioning of a kidney. Diabetes is the most common cause of End-stage renal disease (ERSD) followed by high blood pressure. Other problems that can cause kidney failure are:
- Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and LGA nephropathy
- Family history of kidney failure
- Nephrotic syndrome
- Urinary tract problems
There may be chances of kidneys stopping suddenly. It is called acute kidney injury or acute renal failure. The following factors can cause acute kidney injury:
- Heart attack
- Illegal drug use or drug abuse
- Not enough blood flowing to the kidneys
- Urinary tract problems
In this type of kidney failure, which is not permanent, your kidneys may go back to normal with treatment and medications.
Having one of the health problems that can lead to kidney failure does not mean that you will definitely have kidney failure. Living a healthy lifestyle and going for regular checkups can help in controlling these health problems and can also ensure that your kidneys stay healthy for long.
Hypertension, also named as ‘the silent killer’ as most people are not even aware that they are suffering from it. It is due to the fact that there are no symptoms of it and thus making it more dangerous. Therefore, other than checking your blood pressure regularly, there’s no sure way to know if it’s within the healthy range.
However, a few changes in your lifestyle can help you manage your blood pressure and can also prevent blood pressure to get high. Take a look at the numbers:
Change 1: Lose Weight
Benefit: For every 20 pounds you lose, your systolic blood pressure will get reduced by 5 to 20 points. For an overweight person, losing as little as 10 pounds can help lower blood pressure. Your aim should be to get your BMI between 18.5 and 24.9, which is recommended for a normal person.
Change 2: Follow the DASH diet
Benefit: The DASH diet is rich in fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy. Following this particular diet can make your systolic blood pressure to drop 8 to 14 points.
Change 3: Cut back on sodium
Benefit: watch your systolic blood pressure drop 2 to 8 points if you limit sodium intake to 2,400 milligrams per day.
Change 4: Exercise
Benefit: A routine 30 minutes exercise daily can help lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 points.
Change 5: Drink less alcohol
Benefit: Your systolic blood pressure gets lower by 2 to 4 points when you limit yourself to one alcoholic drink a day (for females) or two drinks (for males).
Hypertension may be a silent killer but adopting a few lifestyle changes can help you manage it better.
Multiple Sclerosis or MS is a neurological disease that affects your brain and spinal cord. If your age is between 20-40, now is the time to become more aware of this chronic and incurable disease. Here are 7 facts that you should know:
- MS is also known as an autoimmune disease because the immune system mistakenly attacks the protective covering around the nerves known as myelin.
- Since there is no cure for MS yet, it is considered as a chronic condition. However, it is not fatal. About 2 million people are affected by it worldwide and mostly have a normal life expectancy. Only a few cases may have complications that can result in shortening lifespan of a person.
- Symptoms of MS may vary from person to person, however, some common symptoms are:
- Vision problems
- Numbness in the face, arms, legs and fingers
- Chronic pain and involuntary muscle spasms
- Fatigue and weakness
- Balance problems and dizziness
- Bladder dysfunction
- Cognitive problems
- There are four types of MS, the most common being relapsing-remitting MS. A relapse is when a person experiences a sudden outbreak of symptoms. While in remission a person experiences no symptoms. Episodes of remission last for a week and could stretch to years.
- MS not only damages your nerves, but also your critical thinking and cognitive skills. People suffering from MS have difficulty in storing memories and finding the right words to express themselves. Other problems include lack of concentration and attention, loss of problem-solving skills and spatial relations etc.
- People with MS are advised to stay in cool places because of their intolerance towards heat.
- Studies show that there is a strong link between MS and Vitamin D. This powerful nutrient can act as a protector against MS, and can also lead to fewer relapses in people who already have this disease. Include milk, orange juice, cereals, cod liver oil, salmon, tuna and eggs in your diet which are a great source of Vitamin D.
MS is a silent and an unpredictable disease whose effects differs person to person. A solid support system of medical professionals, friends and family can help you cope with this chronic illness. Treatment at the right time can minimize relapses and help you live your life to the fullest.