Other Kidney Diseases


Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. This pressure moves blood from the heart to organs, including the brain, kidneys and stomach. High blood pressure occurs when the force of blood against your artery walls increases.

Uncontrolled or poorly controlled high blood pressure is the second leading cause of chronic kidney failure in the United States. Many people are unaware of the association between high blood pressure and kidney disease. Severe high blood pressure can damage kidneys quickly. However, even moderately high blood pressure can cause kidney failure over the course of several years. Often, people with slightly high blood pressure have no symptoms until their kidneys have been irreversibly damaged.

Blood pressure consistently over 120/70 can place you at greater risk of developing kidney disease because it puts more stress on your kidneys. Older people, African-Americans, people who are overweight, people with a family history of high blood pressure and people with diabetes are at a higher risk for developing high blood pressure.

This condition is the third leading cause of end-stage kidney disease in the United States. It is a disease that damages the glomeruli — the kidneys’ filtering units. In many cases, the cause of this disease is unknown. Some cases may be inherited and others may be triggered by an infection.

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)
This term refers to an inherited disease that is sometimes called “adult PKD” since it usually appears in adulthood. There is a less common type of PKD that mainly occurs in babies and children. In PKD, cysts (pouches filled with fluid) are found in the kidney, but they can also affect other organs such as the liver, pancreas, spleen and ovaries. People who have PKD may not be aware that they have a problem until they are 30 to 40 years old. Common symptoms include: high blood pressure, back or side pain, an increase in the size of the abdomen or blood in the urine. About 50 percent of people with PKD will develop kidney failure by age 60; about 60 percent will develop it by age 70.

Analgesic Nephropathy
This condition is kidney failure which results from taking large amounts of over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin, acetominophen or ibuprofen, for a prolonged period of time. Every medication we take, whether prescription or over-the-counter, passes through the kidneys. Analgesic nephropathy usually results from people self-medicating, perhaps to relieve chronic pain from arthritis or back pain. These medicines should never be taken on a regular basis without checking with your doctor. Thousands of Americans have destroyed their kidneys by using excessive amounts of painkillers.

Interstitial Nephritis
This is a kidney disorder caused by inflammation of the tubules and spaces between the tubules and glomeruli. The inflammation causes lesions that may be temporary (resulting from an allergic reaction or side effect to a medication), or chronic. Medications commonly associated with this disorder are antibiotics such as penicillin or ampicillin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The disorder causes a reduction in kidney function that can range from mild to severe. About half of the people with interstitial nephritis experience a decrease in urine output.

Nephrotic Syndrome
This condition may occur when the filtering units of the kidneys are damaged. When this occurs, protein normally kept in blood plasma leaks into the urine in large amounts. This reduces the amount of protein in the blood. Since the protein part of the blood helps keep fluid in the bloodstream, some of this fluid leaks out of the bloodstream into your tissues, causing swelling (edema). You may notice swelling in your legs after standing for a while, or in the tissue under your eyes when you wake up in the morning.

Prostate Problems
Fifty percent of men are affected by prostate problems by ages 51 to 60 and more than 90 percent of men over age 80 are affected. Men with an enlarged prostate gland may have their urine flow blocked which can cause a urinary tract infection. Chronic urinary tract infections can damage the kidneys.