Page 7 - Beaumont_Book_1
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Kidney Disease
                                                                          — A Guide for Patients







                                                              secrete to help maintain healthy bones by
        SOME EXAMPLES OF WASTE PRODUCTS
        INCLUDE:                                              maintaining a chemical balance between calcium
                                                              and phosphate in the blood.
        Urea – Blood carries protein from your diet to the
        cells to fight disease and repair muscle. Whatever
        protein is not used is put back into the bloodstream     HOW DOES KIDNEY DISEASE AFFECT
        in the form of urea for excretion. Too much urea, in     YOUR BODY?
        the blood, is known as uraemia.                          Kidney disease can affect you in a number of
        Potassium – A mineral absorbed into the                  different ways. These include :
        bloodstream from many fruits and vegetables such        ● Proteinuria (protein in the urine)
        as oranges, bananas and potatoes. Potassium             ● Haematuria (blood in the urine)
        regulates the heart rate. Healthy kidneys remove        ● Hypertension (high blood pressure)
        excess potassium, from the blood stream, as a           ● Elevated Serum Creatinine (kidney disease)
        waste product.                                          ● Kidney Stones
        Creatinine – A waste product in the blood created       ● Recurrent Urine Infections
        by the breakdown of muscle cells during activity.
        The levels vary according to the size of the
        individual, i.e. the muscle mass of the person.       Proteinuria
        Sodium – A chemical absorbed in the blood stream         Proteinuria or protein in the urine is frequently
        from food containing salts. Excess sodium in the      the earliest symptom of kidney disease. You will
        blood may cause a rise in blood pressure as it plays  have read, in the previous section, how the kidney
        a vital role in regulating the amount of fluid in the  works and that the kidney has about a million
        blood.                                                filters. When the kidney is healthy it allows very
        Chloride – Like sodium, this chemical helps           little protein into the urine. If these filters become
        maintain a balance of fluid in the body. It is also   leaky, small amounts of protein will leak into the
        absorbed from salted foods and is absorbed in the     urine. This is frequently an early sign of kidney
        bloodstream in the bowel.                             trouble long before the kidney function itself
                                                              begins to deteriorate.
        In addition to removing waste, the kidneys have          Doctors frequently test patient’s urine for the
        other important functions. These are carried out      presence of blood or protein, to try to detect
        with the help of three hormones, which are            kidney disease early. There are many causes of
        released in the kidneys.                              protein in the urine, including diabetes and
        Erythropoietin (eh-rith-ro-poy-eh-tin) or Epo is a    glomerulonephritis. Whilst your doctor will conduct
        hormone that is secreted by your kidneys and          a number of special blood tests, to try to determine
        stimulates the bone marrow to produce red                  the underlying cause, it may be necessary to
        blood cells, which carry oxygen in the                         undergo a kidney biopsy (see page 26), to
        blood, to the cells in the body.           “Proteinuria          establish the exact cause of the protein.
        Renin (ren-in) is a hormone that the    or protein in the            Patients who have very large
        kidneys secrete to help regulate       urine is frequently         amounts of protein in the urine,
        the blood pressure through a               the earliest            (greater than 3 grams), are described
        chemical process within the blood            symptom               as   having    nephrotic   syndrome.
        stream.                                      of kidney            Patients with nephrotic syndrome
        Calcitriol (kal-suh-try-ul) is the active    disease.”          frequently have swollen legs.
        form of Vitamin D that the kidneys

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