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Kidney Health: It's Not Just About Kidney Stones

By George McKenzie

A kidney is a reddish brown, bean-shaped organ that filters

waste minerals and toxins from the blood. The kidneys

regulate acid concentration and the kidneys maintain the

water balance in the human body by producing urine.

Kidneys also make hormones that help keep bones strong blood healthy.

Kidneys that aren't functioning properly allow harmful

toxins to build up. This may causes blood pressure to rise,

the body will accumulate fluids, and may not produce enough

red blood cells.

Here are the most common kidney problems.

Kidney Stones: A kidney stone is a hard mass that

accumulates in the urinary tract when crystals separate from

the urine and build up on the inner surfaces of the kidney.

In most people, urine contains chemicals that prevent these

crystals from forming kidney stones. People who suffer from

kidney stones, for reasons that aren't always completely

understood, don't have inhibitors that prevent crystal

formation.

Anyone who has ever had kidney stones will tell you the pain

can be so severe that it reduces them to tears.

Kidney stones are not a product of modern diets or

lifestyle. Evidence of kidney stones has been found in 7000

year old human remains in Egypt.

Men tend to get kidney stones more often than women.

Kidney Infections: If a person has low resistance, germs

from the bladder can travel up the ureters to the kidneys

and begin to multiply. An acute kidney infection starts

suddenly with severe symptoms, then quickly comes to an end. A chronic kidney infection develops slowly and grows worse with time. A chronic kidney infection can lead to kidney

failure.

Kidney Cysts: A kidney cyst is an abnormal pouch that

contains fluid. The simple kidney cyst is the most common

form.

The cause of a simple kidney cyst isn't completely understood. But there's no evidence that kidney cysts are an inherited condition. One or more kidney cysts may develop at

a time on the small tubes in the kidneys.

Kidney cysts do not generally present symptoms and usually

kidney cysts cause no harm. Very often people don't even

know they have a kidney cyst. However, a kidney cyst can

cause pain if it grows large enough to press on other

organs.

Sometimes a kidney cyst can become infected and start to

bleed. If that happens, a kidney cyst can increase blood

pressure, but it usually don't impair kidney function.

A kidney cyst won't require treatment if no complications

are present. But if symptoms occur, a kidney cyst may

require surgery.

Kidney Cancer: Kidney cancer accounts for approximately

three percent of all adult cancers in the United States. The

American Cancer Society reports that more than 30,000 new

cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed each year and about

12,000 people die from kidney cancer annually.

Kidney cancer tends to appear in adults in middle age,

usually after age 50. Kidney cancer strikes men twice as

often as women.

The most common type of kidney cancer occurs in the part of

the kidney that filters blood and produces the urine. This

type of kidney cancer is called renal cell cancer, or renal

cell carcinoma. Another type of adult kidney cancer is a

tumor which arises in the part of the kidney where the urine

collects. This type of kidney cancer is called transitional

cell carcinoma. The most frequent sign of kidney cancer in

adults is blood in the urine.

About The Author
George McKenzie is a freelance writer and CEO of Mastermind Learning Systems. He has suffered from kidney stones since age 12, motivating him to create a kidney health resource site site.


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