Facts of kidney failure
WHAT CAN GOWRONG WITH KIDNEYS?
A complex disease called glomerulonephritis damages and may destroy nephrons in the kidneys. Nephrons act as the filters for the blood. This is the biggest cause of kidney failure.
Diabetes is a disorder where the pancreas does not make enough insulin or the insulin is not effective. This imbalance causes a high blood sugar level and eventually many unhealthy changes can occur in different body organs, including the kidneys.
Backflow of urine from the bladder up to the kidneys is the main cause of irreversible kidney failure, particularly in young people. It is called reflux nephropathy. There is also an inherited disease, polycystic kidney disease, which causes cysts to grow within the kidneys.
High blood pressure can also damage the kidneys’ tiny blood vessels. Once kidneys are damaged the high blood pressure which may be provoked by the damage will itself worsen the kidney scarring, making a vicious cycle.
WHAT KIND OF TREATMENT IS NEEDED?
Dialysis – artificial cleaning of the blood – is one treatment. A tube runs blood out of the body and through a machine which cleans it and then pumps the clean blood back into the body.
Dialysis helps to alleviate some of the symptoms of severe kidney failure. • For information visit www.kidneykids.org.nz.