Chronic Kidney Disease – Causes
Chronic Kidney Disease – Causes
There could be a number of reasons that increase the risk of someone developing CKD. The majority of known reason for kidney disease are environmental, i.e. lifestyle and external factors. There is also some evidence that our genetics influences the likelihood of developing CKD. Future Genetics is carrying out scientific research to identify the genetic drivers that increase the risk of certain people in the UK developing CKD than others.
There are a number of known causes for a person to develop CKD:
- High blood pressure. High blood pressure is a contributor for a number of diseases. High blood pressure over a long period of time places a strain on the organs of the body and leads to damage of small blood vessels. The kidneys are particularly susceptible to damage by high blood pressure there are so many blood vessels in this organ.
- Diabetes. diabetes is a disease where the body struggles to control the amount of glucose in the blood. One of the consequences of diabetes is damage to the kidney when it tries to manage large quantities over a prolonged period of time.
- Elevated cholesterol. High levels of cholesterol in the blood results in it sticking to the inside of blood vessels, including those that supply blood to the kidneys. This build up of chlerserol causes the vessels to narrow which results in a reduced blood flow, therefore an increase likelihood of kidney damage.
- Kidney infections. Infection of the kidney can be an unpleasant and painful experience. The most common reason for this type of infection is cystitis, which is when bacteria from a bladder infection travel up the tube that connects the bladder to the kidney which the causes the kidney infection. Antibiotics can effectively treat these infections. Usually, it is only when a person isn’t treated in a timely manner that there is a risk of permanent kidney damage.
- Glomerulo-nephritis. The main function of the kidney is to filter and clean the blood. Therefore, the structure of the inside of the kidney reflects its function. There are small components of the kidney called glomeruli that are involved in the filtering process. Glomerulo-nephritis is when the body’s own immune system starts to attack the glomeruli which can lead to damage. The issue here is that in most cases there are no obvious symptoms and Glomerulo-nephritis may only be diagnosed during a urine or blood test that has been collected by a doctor for another reason.
- Polycystic kidney disease (PKD). PKD is associated with the formation of fluid filled cysts in the kidney. The build up of these cysts leads to kidney damage that can eventually result in end stage kidney failure. There is a genetic basis for people developing this disease. The majority of patients with PKD have small genetic differences in one of two genes. These are called PKD 1 and PKD 2.
- Problems in passing urine. The kidneys function be removing unwanted materials and molecules from the blood along with excess water. This urine then passes along tubes from each kidney into the bladder. There are cases when the movement of urine can be blocked due to reasons such as kidney stones or when the prostate gland in men becomes enlarged.
- Prolonged or long-term use of medicines. There are some medicines if used for extended periods of time can affect the kidney function. Examples include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and lithium. If you have any concerns please speak with your pharmacist or doctor.
Although there is a likelihood of increased risk for some people, everyone can reduce the risk of developing CKD by either remaining on or start living a healthy lifestyle. For those people who have underlying conditions such as high blood pressure then it makes sense to try and manage those conditions.