Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Kidney Health: It's Not Just About Kidney Stones

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 
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. 

Symptoms and treatment for the kidney disorders described 
above can be found at and 

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