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Kidney disease – FAQs

08 March 2018

What are the kidneys, what do they do and why are they important?

The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs on either side of your spine, below your ribs and behind your belly. They basically act as blood filters that work every second of your life.

They act to remove excess waste substances from the blood and maintain blood volume and water content.

The kidneys also have wider roles that include maintaining bone health and the formation of red blood cells.

 

What is kidney disease?

Kidney disease is characterised by an impairment in kidney function. It may present suddenly, known as “acute kidney injury”, or be more gradual in onset, known as “chronic kidney disease”.

The causes of kidney disease are many, but in the western world diabetes and high blood pressure are leading causes.

It’s estimated that 8-10% of the population have kidney disease.

 

How can kidney disease be detected?

The very early stages of chronic kidney disease do not present with symptoms but is picked up readily from blood and urine testing.

Detecting the condition early allows for prompt measures to halt or slow down the progression of the disease.

 

Who is most at risk from kidney disease?

A person is more at risk from kidney disease if they have diabetes, high blood pressure or are obese.

Left unchecked, kidney disease can progress rapidly and then be detected at a stage that is too late to treat. At this stage the patient would require dialysis or a kidney transplant to replace the function of their kidneys.

 

What to do if you think you have something wrong with your kidneys?

First and foremost book an appointment with your GP to discuss your concerns. The only way to diagnose kidney disease is through blood and urine testing, which is easily arranged via your GP.

Further investigations may be required if abnormalities are detected.

 

To find out more about our kidney disease services at Spire Cardiff Hospital and to book an appointment with Dr Junglee, please call 029 2054 2509

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