Our kidneys not only function to remove toxins from our bodies through our urine. They do many other things in the background such that when kidney disease strikes, a host of new health problems suddenly pop out of nowhere. Here's a list of related issues of accompanying kidney disease that I and other kidney patients I know experienced.
1. High Blood Pressure
Also known as hypertension, it is one of the most common effects of kidney disease. At times, hypertension may be the cause of the kidney damage. When you have kidney disease, blood pressure goes up as kidney isn't able to produce enough hormones to regulate it.
It is important to keep blood pressure under control because it can cause a host of other new problems like heart disease or stroke. Maintaining a BP of below 130/80 is good, 120/80 would be optimal.
Anemia occurs when you lack of red blood cells in the body. Having anemia makes you tired all the time. Left untreated, it may harm other organs because there isn't enough blood that flows into these organs.
Anemia happens when the kidney isn't working well and does not release enough erythropoietin or EPO. EPO, along with iron, play significant roles in blood building. As a result, kidney patients often need to be supplemented with EPO injections regularly to prevent anemia.
A complete blood count (CBC) tells you if you suffer from anemia. See our post on the CBC test on how to interpret your CBC result
Our kidneys are also in charge of keeping a good acid-base balance in our bodies, partly by regulating the amount of water we retain. A problem that arises when the kidney isn't working properly is acidosis, where too much acid is present in the blood. When our body's pH becomes too acidic, we may experience joint pain, arthritis, weak bones and many other undesirable problems.
4. Bone Problems
We mentioned previously that our kidneys does two things related to bone strength.
a. produce calcitriolSo when kidney function is diminished, calcitriol production decreases, resulting in a lack of the active vitamin D that is needed to keep bones strong. Less kidney function also lessens its ability to regulate the the calcium and phosphorus levels properly.
b. balance the calcium and phosphorus levels in our blood
These 2 things leave bones weak and brittle, causing them to break more easily. So kidney patients are often told to exercise and are given calcium supplements and phosphate binders to help counter these problems.
Don't let these related effects of kidney disease surprise you. Prepare and prevent them.