The kidney is one of the most vital organs of our body. In fact, we all learn about the importance of the kidneys in school. Before we talk about kidney infection and its symptoms and treatment, we first need to understand what the functions of the kidneys are. Well, firstly, the kidney plays the fundamental role of cleansing the body of all impurities and toxins. Secondly, it is also responsible for producing red blood cells and other hormones that regulate other bodily functions. Thirdly, and a subsidiary to the first function, it also maintains a balance level of minerals in the body. Basically, blood after having accumulated toxins from the rest of the body goes to the kidneys, where the excess waste product is filtered and passed out of the body as urine. Thus, when the kidneys stop functioning properly, then there is a serious problem because waste just keeps on accumulating in the bloodstream causing imbalances in the functions of the body.
Now, before we talk about kidney infection symptoms, we first need to understand what causes a kidney infection. Some of the common causes include:
- Inflammation of the kidney
- High blood pressure
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Kidney stones, cysts or even surgery
The causes listed above generally affect the functioning of the kidney as they either lower or increase the flow of blood, thus affecting the filtering ability of the kidneys.
Kidney infection symptoms:
Any abnormalities in the functioning of the kidney are very easily detectable. The kidney symptoms generally depend on the kind of kidney infection. However, if these kidney infection symptoms are checked and addressed immediately, it can lead to a serious and life threatening illness which is known as End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Some of the symptoms that are seen here include:
- Edema, which is puffing up of the eyes, hands and feet
- Fatigue and shortness of breath
- High blood pressure
- Loss of appetite and nausea
- Weight loss and constant thirst
- Twitching or cramping of the muscles
- Bad breath or bad taste in the mouth
- Changes in the color or composition of urine
- Yellowish tint to the skin
- Low urine output or burning sensation while urinating
- Pain of the back, abdomen or sides
- Foul smelling urine
If these symptoms are not dealt with at the earliest then it might lead to chronic and acute kidney failure wherein the kidneys shut down leading to a buildup of wastes which affect the the entire body system. Kidney failure is said to occur when it is functioning at less than 10 per cent of its capacity. The only way to sustain life then is through dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Treatment depends upon the type of the disease. A bacterial infection for example can be treated by taking antibiotics. Moreover, bringing about a change in diet is also essential to treat kidney inflammation. While in case of acute kidney failure, treatment will eventually restore the kidney; in case of chronic kidney failure, the only way to survive is via dialysis which is a machine that assumes the functions of the kidney or to undergo a kidney transplant. Hence, it is essential that any problems related to the kidney should be nipped in the bud in order to avoid a life-threatening situation.