Kidney Health Tips & Info

Kidney disease is 10th on the list of causes of death in America.

Every year, high blood pressure causes more than 150,000 new cases of kidney failure in the United States.

Diabetes and High Blood Pressure are the 2 leading causes of chronic kidney disease (renal failure) in the US.

Diabetes, high blood pressure and/or a family history of kidney disease are signs that you need to take action to keep your kidneys healthy. Chronic kidney disease happens over time, so the sooner you find out you are at risk, the sooner you can take steps to prevent kidney failure.

High-risk populations include those with diabetes, high blood pressure and family history of kidney disease. Six percent of the United States population has diabetes, the number one cause of kidney disease. One out of four Americans has high blood pressure, the second leading cause of kidney disease.

More than 33 percent of kidney failure patients are African American, while the number of Hispanic patients receiving end stage renal disease treatment has increased by over 50 percent in the last decade. Other high-risk groups include Pacific Islanders, Native Americans and seniors 65 and older.

People with end stage kidney failure must receive dialysis or a kidney transplant to stay alive.

How does high blood pressure hurt my kidneys? High blood pressure makes your heart work harder and, over time, can damage blood vessels throughout your body. If the blood vessels in your kidneys are damaged, they may stop removing wastes and extra fluid from your body. The extra fluid in your blood vessels may then raise blood pressure even more. It’s a dangerous cycle.

Effects of High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a major factor in the development of kidney problems in people with diabetes. Both a family history of hypertension and the presence of hypertension appear to increase chances of developing kidney disease. Hypertension also accelerates the progress of kidney disease when it already exists.

In the past, hypertension was defined as blood pressure exceeding 140 millimeters of mercury-systolic and 90 millimeters of mercury-diastolic. Professionals shorten the name of this limit to 140/90 or “140 over 90.” The terms systolic and diastolic refer to pressure in the arteries during contraction of the heart (systolic) and between heartbeats (diastolic).

The American Diabetes Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend that people with diabetes keep their blood pressure below 130/80.

Hypertension can be seen not only as a cause of kidney disease, but also as a result of damage created by the disease. As kidney disease proceeds, physical changes in the kidneys lead to increased blood pressure. Therefore, a dangerous spiral, involving rising blood pressure and factors that raise blood pressure, occurs. Early detection and treatment of even mild hypertension are essential for people with diabetes.

What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

Chronic kidney disease includes conditions that damage your kidneys and decrease their ability to keep you healthy by doing the jobs listed. If kidney disease gets worse, wastes can build to high levels in your blood and make you feel sick. You may develop complications like high blood pressure, anemia (low blood count), weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage. Also, kidney disease increases your risk of having heart and blood vessel disease. These problems may happen slowly over a long period of time. Chronic kidney disease may be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders. Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse. When kidney disease progresses, it may eventually lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life. more information

For Kidney Disease, Some Tests are More Important than Others

A new report in the nation’s leading medical journal says tracking GFR is an essential — and relatively easy — part of keeping kidney disease on track. more information

The Facts About Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

  • 20 million Americans – 1 in 9 US adults – have CKD and another 20 million more are at increased risk.
  • Early detection can help prevent the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure.
  • Heart disease is the major cause of death for all people with CKD.
  • Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is the best estimate of kidney function.
  • Hypertension causes CKD and CKD causes hypertension.
  • Persistent proteinuria means CKD.
  • High risk groups include those with diabetes, hypertension and family history of kidney disease.
  • African Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans and Seniors are at increased risk.
  • Three simple tests can detect CKD: blood pressure, urine albumin and serum creatinine.

Many People With Kidney Disease Still in the Dark

Nearly half of people with an advanced form of kidney disease do not know they have weak or failing kidneys, according to recent research published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases, the official journal of the National Kidney Foundation. more information

Can Your Headache Be Related To Kidney Disease? by Javier Fuller

To be frank, I am not afraid of the disease. I am afraid of the various types of medications available for the disease. I am not afraid of the effects of the disease. I am afraid of the after effects of medicines prescribed by the doctor, for the disease. There is a mushroom growth of medications for a particular disease.

“The best thing a person with chronic headaches can do is get off the painkillers,” says Paul Duckro, associate professor of psychiatry at St. Louis University. “In our studies, two-thirds of the chronic headache sufferers benefited from the withdrawal of medication.”

You can very well understand the implications of the above statement. To an extent, it is better to bear the torment of the headache, than to invite diseases by taking pain-killers. You don’t know when these pain-killers turn just killers!

Why then you feel relieved form the headache, temporarily, when you take these pain-killers? It is simply because the headache becomes temporarily drug-induced. Its real effect is that it does not reduce pain, it produces pain. You know, many experts are unanimous in their opinion that pain-killers can not get you permanent relief from headaches. But they can cause permanent damage certainly.

Over the counter medications for headache can be termed as dangerous. According to Dr William Bennett, Head of Nephrology at Oregon Health Sciences University USA, such painkillers are responsible for over 20 % of the 125,000 cases of the final stage kidney diseases in this country.

Now the opinion is unanimous, that all painkiller drugs have side effects, and these are not minor ones. Such serious diseases are lightheadedness, vomiting, severe stomach pain, kidney damage, liver damage, dizziness and internal bleeding.

Give importance to your headache but do not give too much importance. That is to say, as soon as you get the headache, don’t rush to painkillers. Never take the repeat dose. By doing so, you are repeating the mistake that you have committed.

The expert advice in the treatment of such headaches is to have a regular walking schedule. Your metabolism needs revision. Such walks done everyday for about 45 minutes will solve your problems related to stress, kidney disease and heart disease.

Headache is not the cause of kidney disease. But, wrong treatment for headache, can land you up there.

Many Headache articles are available at Headache Updates

Diabetic nephropathy | Diabetes and Kidney Disease

Diabetes is the number one cause of kidney failure.

Each year in the United States, more than 100,000 people are diagnosed with kidney failure, a serious condition in which the kidneys fail to rid the body of wastes. Kidney failure is the final stage of kidney disease, also known as nephropathy.

Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure, accounting for nearly 45 percent of new cases. Even when diabetes is controlled, the disease can lead to nephropathy and kidney failure. Most people with diabetes do not develop nephropathy that is severe enough to cause kidney failure. About 20.8 million people in the United States have diabetes, and more than 150,000 people are living with kidney failure as a result of diabetes.

Almost a third of people with diabetes develop kidney disease (also called diabetic nephropathy).

People with diabetes and kidney disease do worse overall than people with kidney disease, alone. This is because people with diabetes tend to have other long-standing medical conditions, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and blood vessel disease (atherosclerosis). People with diabetes also tend to have other kidney-related problems, such as bladder infections, and nerve damage to the bladder.

Kidney disease in type 1 diabetes is slightly different than in type 2 diabetes. In type 1 disease, kidney disease begins acutely and may start at an early or young age. Overt disease, when present, is obvious after about 15 years of having type 1 diabetes.

In type 2 diabetes, many patients have kidney disease at the onset, when they are diagnosed with diabetes. Because type 2 diabetes is frequently found in the middle or older aged person with other chronic medical conditions, kidney disease may have been caused by other conditions.

What Are the Symptoms of Kidney Disease?

Although there are often no symptoms with early kidney damage, they may include:

  • Swelling of the hands, feet and face.
  • Weight gain.
  • Itching (end-stage kidney disease) and extremely dry skin.
  • Drowsiness (end-stage kidney disease).
  • Blood in the urine (rare).
  • Abnormalities in the hearts’ regular rhythm, because of increased potassium in the blood.
  • Muscle twitching.

As kidney damage progresses, your kidneys cannot remove the waste from your blood. The waste then builds up in your body and can reach poisonous levels, a condition known as uremia. People with uremia are often confused or comatose. Uremia is worsened by high blood pressure.

How Is Kidney Disease Diagnosed?

The disease is detected by finding protein in the urine. That’s why you should have your urine tested every year.

How Is Kidney Disease Treated?

Lowering blood pressure and maintaining blood glucose control are absolutely necessary to slow the progression of kidney problems. Some medicines called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors can help slow down the progression of kidney damage. Although ACE inhibitors — including Altace, Lotensin and Capoten — are usually used to treat high blood pressure and other medical problems, they are often given to people with diabetes to prevent complications, even if their blood pressure is normal.

If a person has side effects from taking ACE inhibitors, another class of drugs called angiotensin receptor blockers can be given instead.

If not treated, the kidneys will continue to fail and larger amounts of proteins can be detected in the urine. Advanced kidney failure requires treatment with dialysis or a kidney transplant.


Dialysis is a treatment that does some of the things done by healthy kidneys. It is needed when your own kidneys can no longer take care of your body’s needs.

When is dialysis needed?

You need dialysis when you develop end stage kidney failure –usually by the time you lose about 85 to 90 percent of your kidney function.

What does dialysis do?

Like healthy kidneys, dialysis keeps your body in balance. Dialysis does the following:

  • removes waste, salt and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body
  • keeps a safe level of certain chemicals in your blood, such as potassium, sodium and bicarbonate
  • helps to control blood pressure

Is kidney failure permanent?

Not always. Some kinds of acute kidney failure get better after treatment. In some cases of acute kidney failure, dialysis may only be needed for a short time until the kidneys get better.

In chronic or end stage kidney failure, your kidneys do not get better and you will need dialysis for the rest of your life. If your doctor says you are a candidate, you may choose to be placed on a waiting list for a new kidney.

Where is dialysis done?

Dialysis can be done in a hospital, in a dialysis unit that is not part of a hospital, or at home. You and your doctor will decide which place is best, based on your medical condition and your wishes.

Are there different types of dialysis?

Yes, there are two types of dialysis –hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.

What is hemodialysis?

In hemodialysis, an artificial kidney (hemodialyzer) is used to remove waste and extra chemicals and fluid from your blood. To get your blood into the artificial kidney, the doctor needs to make an access (entrance) into your blood vessels. This is done by minor surgery to your arm or leg.

Sometimes, an access is made by joining an artery to a vein under your skin to make a bigger blood vessel called a fistula.

However, if your blood vessels are not adequate for a fistula, the doctor may use a soft plastic tube to join an artery and a vein under your skin. This is called a graft.

Occasionally, an access is made by means of a narrow plastic tube, called a catheter, which is inserted into a large vein in your neck. This type of access may be temporary, but is sometimes used for long-term treatment.

How long do hemodialysis treatments last?

The time needed for your dialysis depends on:

  • how well your kidneys work
  • how much fluid weight you gain between treatments
  • how much waste you have in your body
  • how big you are
  • the type of artificial kidney used

Usually, each hemodialysis treatment lasts about four hours and is done three times per week.

A type of hemodialysis called high-flux dialysis may take less time. You can speak to your doctor to see if this is an appropriate treatment for you.

What is peritoneal dialysis and how does it work?

In this type of dialysis, your blood is cleaned inside your body. The doctor will do surgery to place a plastic tube called a catheter into your abdomen (belly) to make an access. During the treatment, your abdominal area (called the peritoneal cavity) is slowly filled with dialysate through the catheter. The blood stays in the arteries and veins that line your peritoneal cavity. Extra fluid and waste products are drawn out of your blood and into the dialysate. There are two major kinds of peritoneal dialysis.

What are the different kinds of peritoneal dialysis and how do they work?

There are several kinds of peritoneal dialysis but two major ones are: Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) and Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis (CCPD).

Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) is the only type of peritoneal dialysis that is done without machines. You do this yourself, usually four or five times a day at home and/or at work. You put a bag of dialysate (about two quarts) into your peritoneal cavity through the catheter. The dialysate stays there for about four or five hours before it is drained back into the bag and thrown away. This is called an exchange. You use a new bag of dialysate each time you do an exchange. While the dialysate is in your peritoneal cavity, you can go about your usual activities at work, at school or at home.

Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis (CCPD) usually is done at home using a special machine called a cycler. This is similar to CAPD except that a number of cycles (exchanges) occur. Each cycle usually lasts 1-1/2 hours and exchanges are done throughout the night while you sleep.

Will dialysis help cure the kidney disease?

No. Dialysis does some of the work of healthy kidneys, but it does not cure your kidney disease. You will need to have dialysis treatments for your whole life unless you are able to get a kidney transplant.

Is dialysis uncomfortable?

You may have some discomfort when the needles are put into your fistula or graft, but most patients have no other problems. The dialysis treatment itself is painless. However, some patients may have a drop in their blood pressure. If this happens, you may feel sick to your stomach, vomit, have a headache or cramps. With frequent treatments, those problems usually go away.

How long has dialysis been available?

Hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis have been done since the mid 1940’s. Dialysis, as a regular treatment, was begun in 1960 and is now a standard treatment all around the world. CAPD began in 1976. Thousands of patients have been helped by these treatments.

How long can you live on dialysis?

We do not yet know how long patients on dialysis will live. We think that some dialysis patients may live as long as people without kidney failure.

Is dialysis expensive?

Yes. Dialysis costs a lot of money. However, the federal government pays 80 percent of all dialysis costs for most patients. Private health insurance or state medical aid also help with the costs.

Do dialysis patients feel normal?

Many patients live normal lives except for the time needed for treatments. Dialysis usually makes you feel better because it helps many of the problems caused by kidney failure. You and your family will need time to get used to dialysis.

Do dialysis patients have to control their diets?

Yes. You may be on a special diet. You may not be able to eat everything you like, and you may need to limit how much you drink. Your diet may vary according to the type of dialysis.

Can dialysis Patients travel?

Yes. Dialysis centers are located in every part of the United States and in many foreign countries. The treatment is standardized. You must make an appointment for dialysis treatments at another center before you go. The staff at your center may help you make the appointment.

Can dialysis patients continue to work?

Many dialysis patients can go back to work after they have gotten used to dialysis. If your job has a lot of physical labor (heavy lifting, digging, etc.), you may need to get a different job.

Updated: 06/03/04
Information about low potassium foods
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Chronic Kidney Failure – Causes and symptoms
Jikhil Jain
October 25, 2007

What is this condition?

Chronic kidney failure usually results from a gradual loss of kidney function. Occasionally it follows rapid loss of kidney function. Few symptoms develop until after more than 75% of the kidney’s function is lost.

Without treatment, unfiltered toxins in the blood damage all the person’s major organs. If he or she can tolerate it, the person with chronic kidney failure will receive dialysis or a kidney transplant.

What causes it?

Chronic kidney failure can follow a long list of diseases described in other parts of this chapter:

chronic kidney tissue disease, such as glomerulonephritis

chronic infections, such as pyelonephritis

inherited defects, such as cyst-filled kidneys

vascular diseases, such as nephrosclerosis or high blood pressure

obstructions, such as kidney stones

connective-tissue diseases, such as lupus

drugs that affect the kidneys, such as long-term aminoglycoside therapy

endocrine diseases, such as complications of diabetes.

All of these factors gradually destroy the kidney’s tissue and cause the organ to fail. If the person has acute kidney failure that does not respond to treatment, chronic kidney failure develops.

What are its symptoms?

Chronic kidney failure produces major changes in all of the person’s body systems:

Kidney and urinary system: Initial changes include low blood pressure, dry mouth, loss of skin tone, listlessness, fatigue, and nausea; later, confusion. As the kidney loses its capacity to excrete sodium, the person suffers sodium retention and overload, with muscle irritation then weakness. The person’s urine output decreases, and the urine’s chemical composition is altered .

Heart and circulation: Kidney failure leads to high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat (including life-threatening fast heartbeat or fibrillation), swelling, and congestive heart failure.

Respiratory: Lung changes include susceptibility to infection, accumulation of fluid, pain, pneumonia, and difficult breathing due to congestive heart failure.

Gastrointestinal tract: Inflammation and ulceration affect many parts of this system. Obvious symptoms include a metallic taste in the mouth, ammonia on the breath, poor appetite, nausea, and vomiting.

Skin: Typically, the person’s skin is pale, yellowish bronze, dry, and scaly. Fingernails may be thin and brittle with lines, and hair may be dry and brittle, change color, and fallout easily.

Nervous system: Restless leg syndrome, one of the first signs of nerve damage, causes pain, burning, and itching in the legs and feet. It may be relieved by voluntarily shaking or rocking them. The person also may experience muscle cramping and twitching, shortened memory and attention span, apathy, drowsiness, irritability, confusion, coma, and seizures. The doctor may check for brain wave changes indicating damage.

Endocrine: Chronic kidney failure can cause stunted growth patterns in children, infertility and reduced sexual drive in both sexes, reduced or stopped menstruation, impotence and decreased sperm production, and increased blood glucose levels similar to diabetes.

Blood changes: These include anemia, decreased red blood cell survival time, blood loss from dialysis and gastrointestinal bleeding, and mild clotting problems that can get worse.

Skeletal: Mineral and hormone imbalances cause muscle and bone pain, bone loss, fractures, and calcium deposits in the brain, eyes, gums, joints, heart lining, and blood vessels. Arterial calcification may produce coronary artery disease. In a child, kidney-related rickets may develop.

How is it diagnosed?

The doctor will ask about symptoms of worsening kidney function and order a lab test called the creatinine clearance test to assess kidney function. Then, the doctor will order a variety of lab tests to pinpoint the specific problems. Blood and urine samples, X-ray studies, and kidney biopsy may be used to determine the source of the problem.

How is it treated?

The doctor may use dietary therapy to correct the person’s specific symptoms. A low-protein diet reduces the production of materials that the kidneys can’t excrete. (However, a person receiving continuous peritoneal dialysis will be given a high-protein diet.) A high-calorie diet prevents mineral imbalances that cause tissue damage. The prescribed diet also restricts sodium and potassium.

The doctor may work to correct the person’s fluid balance with fluid restriction and drugs that control blood pressure, swelling, nausea and vomiting, stomach irritation or constipation, and itching skin. The person may benefit from supplementary vitamins, especially B, D, and essential amino acids.

If the person’s gastrointestinal tract is affected, he or she may need regular stool analysis to detect blood and cleansing enemas to remove the blood. Anemia calls for iron and folate supplements, and severe anemia may require transfusions, though they provide only temporary help. The person may be given hormone therapy to increase red blood cell production.

The person with chronic kidney failure in its severe stage may be given either hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis to help control most of the symptoms. But anemia, nerve damage, and other complications may persist. Finally, maintenance dialysis itself can produce complications. A kidney transplant may be needed for someone with end-stage kidney disease.

More information coming soon…

About Kidney Disease, Kidney Diet, Dialysis, etc

What are the best foods for someone with chronic kidney disease?

Foods that are high in antioxidants are great choices. Kidney-friendly vegetables include red bell pepper, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic and onions. Choose apples, cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries and red grapes for fruit intake. Egg whites and fish provide high quality protein. Add olive oil to round out some of the best foods you can eat when you have chronic kidney disease.

This website is to help you with information. Always talk to your doctor.

Are Tomatoes Fruits or Vegetables

In the US, tomatoes are a fruit and a vegetable. Interesting how this came about.

Tomatoes botanically are a fruit, but, according to law, they are a vegetable. During the 1800’s, New York’s port taxed imported vegetables, but not fruits. An importer wanting to cut costs, went to court stating tomatoes were fruits. His case went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled, that produce often served with meats or fish is a vegetable. So, he had to pay a tomato tax and today we think of tomatoes as a vegetable. They are still high in potassium and are not recommended on a renal diet. High potassium fruits and vegetables are over 200 mg of potassium per serving and a medium tomato is 292 mg of potassium.