Kidney Disease & Health

Kidney Disease & Health Articles

Red meat, TMAO, and your heart

Researchers are finding that a substance called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), produced when the body digests red meat, is linked to health ills such as cardiovascular disease and kidney disease. Experts say people with high levels of TMAO in their blood may have double the risk of cardiovascular disease, compared with people who have lower levels. (Locked) More »

Avoiding the pain of kidney stones

Kidney stones are small hard stones, formed when high levels of minerals in the urine crystallize in the kidneys, forming a pebble-like mass. They can be very painful, but luckily, they are largely preventable. Eating a healthy diet, drinking enough water, and understanding other risk factors, can help head them off before they become a problem. (Locked) More »

Keeping kidney stones at bay

Kidney stones are more common in men than women, and half of people who’ve had them will have a repeat episode within 10 to 15 years. Men can reduce their risk of new and recurring kidney stones by drinking sufficient water, increasing calcium, reducing sodium intake, and avoiding or cutting back on high-oxalate foods and animal protein. (Locked) More »

Tips for taking diuretic medications

Diuretics, commonly called "water pills," are the oldest and least expensive class of drugs used to treat high blood pressure. They help the kidneys eliminate sodium and water from the body. This process decreases blood volume, so the heart has less to pump with each beat, which in turn lowers blood pressure. People with heart failure, who often gain weight because their bodies hold onto excess fluid (a condition called edema), are often prescribed diuretic medications.  Not surprisingly, one of the most common side effects of taking water pills is frequent urination. Other possible side effects include lightheadedness, fatigue, diarrhea or constipation, and muscle cramps. Men may occasionally experience erectile dysfunction. In addition to getting rid of extra salt in your body, diuretic medications also affect levels of potassium. This mineral plays a key role in controlling blood pressure, as well as nerve and muscle function. In general, your kidneys help regulate potassium levels in your blood. But age, diabetes, heart failure, and certain other conditions may impair kidney function. And while some water pills tend to lower potassium levels, others have the opposite effect. More »

When the blood supply to the kidneys suffers

The buildup of cholesterol-laden plaque in the arteries that supply the kidneys causes a condition known as atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis. When the kidneys don’t get enough blood, the result can be a rise in both blood pressure and fluid levels in the body. This increases a person’s risk of a heart attack or a stroke. Treatments include lifestyle changes, medications, and in some cases, an artery-opening stent to help restore blood flow to the kidneys. (Locked) More »

Getting to the heart of kidney disease

Heart disease and kidney failure are linked by two powerful underlying risk factors: diabetes and high blood pressure, each of which damages the heart and kidneys independently. Underlying the connection is a breakdown in metabolic signaling that affects blood sugar, blood pressure, sodium levels, and fat storage. Both environmental and genetic forces are probably involved in creating the malfunction. Keeping blood pressure and blood sugar levels in an acceptable range can help preserve heart health and kidney function. (Locked) More »

Gout

Gout is a painful condition caused by too much uric acid in the blood and tissues. When the level of uric acid is too high, this substance can form tiny crystals that lodge in joints, causing joint pain. Uric acid crystals can also lodge in the kidneys, causing kidney stones. A related condition called pseudogout occurs when crystals of calcium accumulate in joints. Gout occurs for three main reasons: Gout runs in some families. Among younger individuals, it affects men far more often than women. This gap shrinks among older men and women. More »