Why I am so passionate about kidney disease

 

Some facts about kidney disease

Kidney disease is very different from other organ diseases. We need our kidneys to clean our body from the waste product we are producing all the time and for getting rid of the fluids that we drink. But kidneys also have other functions: they produce a number of very important hormones and regulate for a large part the bloodpressure, that allows us to walk, keep all our tissues well provided with oxygen and help us in the resistnace of the body against attacks of viruses and bacteria.

Did you know that in the 2 kidneys you have, there are a total of 2 million tiny little filters, like coffee filters, that clean your blood? And that all substances that you urinate are measured by the kidney filters to see if they are wasting too much of good products, immediately stopping these products from being filtered out further? That the kidneys, in a very smart way, know what blood s[components are harmful for us, so they let them go with the urine, but also recognise the good product we want to keep (like proteins) so we do not urinate them out?

There is no man-made machine or robot that comes even close to having 2 million tiny filters that do their hard work 24 hours per day, year in and year out, when you are sleeping or playing sport. It is a miracle that not many more people have kidney disease, so complex are these two organs, yet, if all goes well they do their job for 80-90-100years or more.

Regretfully, kidney disease is on the rise. I think that we have asked too much from nature to cope with. From an early age we bombard our organs with unhealthy processed foods, all kinds of damaging colorants and other unnecessary supplements to our food, too much meat, and to make things worse, children nowadays have far less physical exercise than in the past. there are not enough places for them to play and modern technology has made the IPAD a more attractive toy that the good old bicycle.

The obesity (overweight) epidemic has really hit Australia very hard and as a consequence we niw see so much diabetes. The scary fact is that we see many young people, yes even children with overweight and there are now children aged 10 with overweight-diabetes, which was unheard of 10 years ago. Diabetes is now the most important diagnosis bringing people to dialysis (the 'artificial kidney').

In this chapter I will discuss the most important kidney diseases, that we, as nephrologists see and that can lead to failure of your kidneys. You may want to read through it because you have it, or because someone you know has it, or just because you are interested. If you want to learn more about it, subscribe to the newsletter to stay updated, or contact me. I am always happy to answer questions as kidneys and high blood pressure are my passion !!

And why am I so passionate ? Because I am convinced that if patients, doctors (nephrologists with GP's as the central point) and allied health workers like dietitians) all work closely together and we fight against kidney disease, we can prevent the increase and slow down the progression of kidney disease. It just needs our attention and cooperation.

Please carry on reading with the buttons above.