There are several types of kidney disease, such as diabetic kidney disease and polycystic kidney disease, so there are many aspects to what kidney disease is. Most however damage structures in the kidneys called nephrons.
There are about a million of these tiny filtering vessels in each kidney, and they are responsible for removing toxins and waste products from your blood and purifying it. During this purification process urine is produced.
Kidney disease often targets both kidneys. It can be sudden, occurring due to an infection, injury or a toxin you ingest, or it can be chronic, slowly damaging your kidneys over many years.
Chronic kidney disease (also called chronic renal insufficiency) is the most common form of kidney ailment. It usually results from diabetes or long-term, uncontrolled high blood pressure or hypertension. So, the damage to the nephrons is slow, and in the early stages does not cause any symptoms.
When the nephrons are damaged, they lose their effectiveness as blood filters. Your body will no longer be able to properly get rid of waste products, toxins and water on its own, so they start to build up in your blood.
The build-up of water and waste products is called uraemia, and it causes swelling in your hands and feet, and fatigue or lethargy. If uraemia is not properly treated, you could end up losing mental functions such as concentration and thinking, having a seizure, or even going into a coma or dying.
Also, improper kidney function causes several other problems. For instance, the kidneys won't be able to regulate blood pressure, or essential metabolites and nutrients in your blood.
One of the most common consequences of kidney damage is cardiovascular disease. In fact, eventually, most people with kidney damage die as a result of heart disease. Kidney damage causes fluid to build up in the lining around the heart causing pericardial disease, which is also a common consequence of diabetes.
Because kidney disease doesn't have symptoms in the early stages, it's important to get annual checkups. A urine test is often the first method that spots the signs of kidney damage, by detecting excess protein in the urine. If caught early, kidney disease is very treatable. Treatment can help to stop the disease from progressing and causing further damage to your kidneys.
Kidney disease is referred to as a progressive disease - it will not go away of its own accord, or by the use of medication. In most cases it gets worse over time, but it can also go into remission with the right treatment. In very rare cases, the damage that's been done can be reversed.
If treatment is unsuccessful, the disease usually leads to kidney failure in which one or both of your kidneys stop working. When both kidneys fail it's called total kidney failure or end stage renal disease. If this happens you'll need to undergo dialysis or a kidney transplant operation.
However, the success rate of dialysis is not great. Some sources suggest that most people who begin dialysis die within five years. That's why early detection through some simple tests is so important. Early treatment is equally important and may include controlling your blood pressure and blood glucose, eating a low-protein diet, and keeping your cholesterol levels healthy.
The use of natural remedies in cases of kidney damage can be very effective. Herbs and nutrients have shown to both treat the cause of kidney damage and to even reverse kidney damage. When combined with the correct diet and lifestyle changes, the use of natural remedies means that kidney damage does not have to be progressive.