What Causes Kidney Disease?

Kidney function is critical to our overall health. When our kidneys aren’t functioning properly, it impacts our body’s ability to clean and filter out extra water from our blood as well as helping to control our blood pressure. To learn more about kidney health and to get in touch with the top kidney specialist in Los Angeles, contact Dr. Victor Gura, M.D. today.

Damaged kidneys allow waste products and fluid to build up in our bodies causing ankle swelling, weakness, poor sleep, vomiting and shortness of breath. Without treatment, the damage worsens and eventually, the kidneys stop working.

Healthy kidneys keep our blood balanced by maintaining appropriate levels of sodium, potassium, phosphorus, water and other minerals. They also remove waste from our blood after digestion, physical activity, chemical exposure or medications. Our kidneys produce renin, which is what our body uses to manage blood pressure and erythropoietin, which prompts our body to make red blood cells. 

Kidney damage happens when there is not enough blood flow to the kidneys, there is direct damage done to the kidneys, or there is a backup of urine.

Examples of the causes of kidney damage include:

  • Traumatic injury with significant blood loss (from a car accident, for example)
  • Dehydration, causing the muscle tissue to break down and send too much protein into the bloodstream
  • The body going into shock due to sepsis, a severe infection
  • An enlarged prostate, causing a block in the flow of urine
  • Certain drugs and toxins
  • Complications during pregnancy, such as eclampsia and pre-eclampsia
  • Autoimmune diseases

Doctors will diagnose what is called chronic kidney disease if your kidneys are not working for longer than three months. The most common causes of kidney disease are type 1 and 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Symptoms to Watch For

Advanced stages of kidney disease can produce the following symptoms:

  • Feeling as if you are going to vomit
  • Urinating more or less than normal
  • Foam in your urine
  • Swelling around the ankles and puffiness around the eyes
  • Frequently short of breath and/or tired
  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased ability to taste
  • Muscle cramps, especially in the legs
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Poor sleep
  • Loss of weight for no obvious reason

If you think you might be at risk for kidney damage or disease, you should make an appointment with Dr. Gura immediately. If you already have high blood pressure, diabetes or if kidney disease runs in your family, you should ask your doctor how often you should be tested.

Limiting your changes of having kidney damage or disease involves getting regular check-ups so you can keep your blood pressure under control and limit your chances of getting diabetes. High blood pressure and diabetes are the two biggest culprits behind kidney damage and disease. And many people don’t know that they suffer from one or both of these issues. Keeping these health conditions under control can limit the wear and tear on your kidneys.

Kidney Specialist in Los Angeles

Chronic kidney disease can often be difficult to detect in the early stages because it causes few symptoms. Having routine screenings is important for maintaining optimal health. As a leading kidney specialist in Los Angeles, Dr. Victor Gura is skilled in diagnosing and managing patients with chronic kidney disease, helping them to stay as healthy as possible and reducing their risk of complications.

Dr. Gura is a world-renowned and board-certified internist and nephrologist. He specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases and dialysis technology. Dr. Gura offers treatment options for diabetes, high blood pressure, acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease, end-stage renal disease and proteinuria. Book your consultation with Dr. Gura today.