The kidneys play a key role in the body and should not be taken for granted.
The kidneys perform a vital function in the body by secreting waste materials and toxins. Both kidneys must be properly cared for on a daily basis to maintain their health.
The kidneys receive blood from the paired renal arteries, process it, and then release it into the paired renal veins. The kidneys are essential organs that control nearly all of the body's fluids, from cleansing to secretion.
Let's quickly brief the main purpose of the kidneys for the body.
The main function of the kidneys:
The Kidneys: Vital Organs for Fluid Balance and Waste Removal
The kidneys are two reddish-brown bean-shaped organs located in the retroperitoneal space of vertebrates. Situated on the left and right side of the body, they measure approximately 12 centimeters (4.5 inches) in length in adult humans.
These vital organs receive blood from the paired renal arteries, and blood exits into the paired renal veins. Each kidney connects to a ureter, a tube that transports excreted urine to the bladder.
The kidneys play a crucial role in regulating body fluid balance, fluid osmolality (solute concentration), acid-base balance, various electrolyte concentrations, and the secretion of toxins.
Filtration occurs in the glomerulus, where one-fifth of the blood volume that enters the kidneys is filtered.
Examples of substances reabsorbed by the kidneys include solute-free water, sodium, bicarbonate, glucose, and amino acids. Examples of substances secreted by the kidneys include hydrogen, ammonium, potassium, and uric acid.
The nephron is the structural and functional unit of the kidney. Each human kidney carries around 1 million nephrons, while a mouse kidney consists of only about 12,500 nephrons.
The kidneys also perform functions beyond the nephrons. For instance, they convert a precursor of vitamin D to its active form, calcitriol, and synthesize the hormones erythropoietin and renin.
What is Kidney Stone Disease?
Kidney stone disease (nephrolithiasis or urolithiasis) is a disorder or damaging state (Crystallopathy) related with the formation and aggregation of crystals in tissues or cavities brought on by using environmental microparticles promoting tissue infection and scarring where a concretion of material, generally mineral salts, that varieties in an organ or duct of the body (kidney stone) develops in the urinary tract.
Kidney stones typically form in the kidney and pass out of the body in the urine stream. If a stone grows larger than 5 millimeters (0.2 inches), it can obstruct the ureter, causing severe and sharp pain in the lower back or abdomen.
A stone may also lead to blood in the urine, vomiting, or painful urination. Approximately half of people who have experienced a kidney stone will have another one within ten years.
See how the kidney stone look like in the figure bellow.
What are the early signs of Kidney Stones Disease?
⦁ Postrenal azotemia and hydronephrosis can be observed following the obstruction of urine flow through one or both ureters.
⦁ Severe pain at the lower back.
⦁ Chills & blood in the urine.
How to permanently treat and remove kidney disease?
There are different ways to treat kidney stone disease, depending on the size, type, and location of the stones. Some of the common treatment options are as follow:
⦁ Drinking plenty of fluids to help flush out the stones and prevent new ones from forming. This is especially important for small stones that may pass on their own without causing much pain or complications.
⦁ Taking pain relievers and anti-nausea medications to ease the discomfort and vomiting that may occur while passing a stone.
Taking medications that can help relax the muscles of the urinary tract and facilitate the passage of stones. These are called alpha blockers or calcium channel blockers.
⦁ Undergoing procedures that can break up or remove larger stones that are too big to pass or that cause severe symptoms. These include:
a. Shock wave lithotripsy, which uses sound waves to shatter the stones into smaller pieces that can be easily passed through urine.
b. Cystoscopy and ureteroscopy, which use thin instruments inserted through the urethra to locate and extract the stones or fragment them with a laser or other device.
c. Percutaneous nephrolithotomy, which involves making a small incision in the back and inserting a scope and tools to remove the stones directly from the kidney.
The choice of treatment depends on several factors, such as the size, shape, composition, and location of the stones, as well as the patient’s preferences, medical history, and overall health.
A doctor can recommend the best option for each case after performing a thorough diagnosis and analysis of the stones.
How is kidney stone disease diagnosed?
The diagnosis may involve blood tests, urine tests, x-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, or other imaging tests.
The analysis may involve sending the stones or their pieces to a lab to determine their chemical makeup.
How does the treatment methods for kidney stone disease work?
The treatment for kidney stone disease aims to relieve the symptoms, prevent complications, and reduce the risk of recurrence.
However, it is not always effective or without side effects.
Some possible complications of kidney stone treatment are bleeding, infection, damage to the urinary tract, and recurrence of stones.
Therefore, it is important to consult a doctor before starting any treatment and to follow a balanced and healthy lifestyle that can help prevent kidney stone formation.
Best preventive measures for kidney stone disease are:
Kidney stone disease is a common and painful condition that can affect anyone, but some people are more prone to it than others. The best way to treat it is to prevent it from happening in the first place, or to seek medical attention as soon as possible if it does occur.
⦁ Drinking enough water and fluids to keep the urine clear or nearly clear.
⦁ Eating a balanced diet that is rich in calcium and low in sodium, oxalate, and animal protein.
⦁ Taking supplements or medications as prescribed by the doctor to correct any underlying conditions that may cause kidney stones, such as hyperparathyroidism, sarcoidosis, or urinary tract infection.
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