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
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
Kidney Cysts: A kidney cyst is an abnormal pouch that
contains fluid. The simple kidney cyst is the most common
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
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
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.