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Causes of Renal Disorders and Steps to Avoid it

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Causes of Renal Disorders and Steps to Avoid it

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Renal disorders occur in the majority population and need a holistic approach and multifactorial management.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Preetha. J

Published At December 24, 2013
Reviewed AtMarch 12, 2024


The incidence of renal disorders has been increasing rapidly over the past few decades, leading to an enormous burden on the limited healthcare resources available in most countries. The disorders of kidney function can be acute or chronic. The kidney dysfunction is progressive, and the advanced stage of kidney disease can have serious complications.

What Are the Causes of Renal Disorders?

Various causes have led to this manifold rise in the number of people suffering from kidney diseases, of which the major ones include:

  • Increased incidence of diabetes.

  • Increased incidence of hypertension.

  • An increase in the number of the obese population.

  • Increased surveillance.

  • Better access to healthcare resources.

Diabetes, an uncontrolled increase in blood sugar levels, and hypertension, an uncontrolled increase in blood pressure, are among the most important causes of renal disorders, especially chronic kidney disease. Recent research has undoubtedly proven the relation of obesity not only with an increased risk of developing diabetes and hypertension but also an increased risk of developing renal dysfunction.

Better access to the healthcare system for both patients and doctors has also led to better diagnosis of renal disorders, which is a good sign pointing toward an efficient healthcare system.

What Factors Increase the Risk of Kidney Disease?

The factors that can increase the risk of chronic kidney disease include:

  • Uncontrolled diabetes.

  • The disease of the heart and blood vessels.

  • Chronic smoking and alcohol.

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure).

  • Obesity (overweight).

  • Genetic predisposition of kidney disease.

  • Changes in the structure and morphology of the kidneys.

  • Advancement in age.

  • Usage of too many medications can damage the kidneys (for example - over-the-counter painkillers).

What Are the Phases of Acute Liver Failure?

Acute renal failure, also known as acute kidney injury (AKI), typically progresses through

  • Initiation Phase: This phase marks the initial insult or injury to the kidneys. Various factors such as dehydration, reduced blood flow to the kidneys (hypoperfusion), exposure to nephrotoxic substances, or obstruction of the urinary tract can trigger this phase. During initiation, kidney function begins to decline, but symptoms may not yet be apparent.

  • Oliguria Phase: Also known as the oliguric phase, this stage is characterized by a significant reduction in urine output. Typically, urine output drops to less than 0.5 milliliters per kilogram of body weight per hour. Oliguria can be accompanied by fluid overload, electrolyte imbalances, and the accumulation of waste products in the bloodstream. This phase may last for days to weeks, and patients are at increased risk of complications such as fluid overload, hyperkalemia, and uremia.

  • Polyuria Phase: Following the oliguric phase, some patients enter a polyuric phase characterized by an increase in urine output. During this phase, the kidneys begin to recover and regain their ability to filter and excrete urine. Urine output may exceed normal levels, sometimes reaching several liters per day. Polyuria helps to eliminate excess fluid and waste products from the body, but patients still require close monitoring and supportive care.

  • Recovery Phase: Also referred to as the diuretic or restitution phase, this stage marks the gradual improvement in kidney function and the resolution of symptoms. During this phase, urine output gradually normalizes, electrolyte imbalances are corrected, and waste products are cleared from the bloodstream. However, recovery can be variable, and some patients may experience residual kidney dysfunction or progress to chronic kidney disease.

What Are the Complications of Renal Disorders?

Kidney disease can affect any part of the body. Potential complications include:

  • Retention of fluid and its collection leads to swelling in the arms and legs. This can be because of high blood pressure. The fluid may also enter the lungs, causing pulmonary edema.

  • Due to dysfunction of the kidneys, there may be an increase in the potassium levels in the blood (hyperkalemia). The electrolyte imbalance can impair the heart and is life-threatening.

  • Heart disease occurs as the heart needs to pump more blood to the kidneys to compensate for its function.

  • Anemia is when the damaged kidney is not able to filter the blood, and there is an accumulation of waste.

  • The bones will eventually become weaker, and there is a risk of bone fracture due to abnormalities in calcium-phosphate metabolism, vitamin D balance, and parathyroid dysfunction.

  • Hormonal imbalance leads to decreased sexual interest, erectile dysfunction, pregnancy problems, and reduced fertility.

  • Various neurological disorders affect both the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system, causing cognitive decline and neuropathies.

  • Kidney disease can hamper the immune system and make the body more vulnerable to infections.

  • Finally, it leads to irreversible damage to the kidneys (end-stage kidney disease - failure). Dialysis or a kidney transplant is required for survival.

How Can One Prevent Renal Disorders?

  • Follow instructions from the healthcare professionals before using the over-the-counter medications.

  • Reduce the weight and maintain BMI (body mass index). Have a balanced diet with regular moderate exercise. Always be physically active.

  • Quit smoking and alcohol. Consult a rehabilitation center if the person is a chain smoker or alcoholic and follow the strategies to stop the substance abuse.

  • Always keep in check with the body conditions for diabetes and blood pressure. If the person is already a diabetic or hypertensive patient, have regular medication and measures to keep them in control.

How Are Renal Disorders Diagnosed?

A patient's history and physical examination can present renal problems. Some of the laboratory tests to diagnose renal disorders are,

  • Urine analysis can pinpoint chronic kidney disease.

  • Blood test to check the level of waste products like blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine.

Radiologic imaging of the kidney will show any morphological abnormalities or calcifications present.

What Is the Treatment Available for Renal Disorders?

  • Medications for glomerular disease.

  • Medications for diabetes, hypertension, and other underlying diseases.

What Are the Steps to Decrease the Rapidly Growing Incidence of Renal Disorders?

  • Educate all people suffering from diabetes and hypertension.

  • All patients should keep charts noting their blood pressure and blood sugar readings.

  • Blood sugar and blood pressure need to be under strict control with or without medications.

  • It is more important to keep both these parameters within normal limits to avoid the development of chronic kidney disease.

  • All such people should get their renal function tests done regularly and be in touch with a kidney disease specialist doctor (nephrologist) along with their primary physicians. This helps in the early diagnosis and control of the renal disease.

The following are some lifestyle modifications for preventing renal disorders:

  • Eating a healthy diet, avoiding extra salt, sugar, or excessive fats, especially saturated fats like butter and ghee. Also, avoid red meat.

  • Regular exercises like morning or evening walks or playing an outdoor game. This helps not only in keeping the body healthy but also the mind healthy and relaxed.

  • Avoidance of alcohol and quitting tobacco usage in any form.

All these measures combined will take us a long way ahead in our endeavor to decrease the incidence of renal diseases and build a healthy kidney world.


Acute and chronic kidney disease is a national burden. Kidney disease has a high mortality rate (death rate). The recovery from kidney disease largely depends on the cause and the severity of the disease. Therefore, it is important to follow preventive measures to avoid renal disorders or consult the physician as early as possible if the person feels any abnormalities in the body.

Frequently Asked Questions


What Are the Causes of Renal Diseases?

The causes for renal diseases are:
- Blockage in the urinary tract.
- Chronic glomerulonephritis.
- High blood sugar.
- High blood pressure.
- Polycystic kidney disease.
- Kidney infection


What Happens in Kidney Failure?

In chronic conditions of the kidney, there is severe damage to the kidneys that will result in improper filtration in the blood. In addition to this, there is a build-up waste in the body that might result in the failure of the functioning of the kidneys.


What Are the Sign of Kidney Problems?

The signs of kidney problems are:
- Decreased urinary output.
- Shortness of breath.
- Swelling in the limbs.


Does Itching Happen in Kidney Problems?

Itching is a common issue faced by patients with kidney problems. Itching can happen on both sides of the body. About one-third of the patients who are on dialysis face the problem of itching. The common site where itching happens is on the arms and the back.


Where Does Back Pain Due to Kidney Problems Occur?

In general conditions, back pain occurs in the lower part of the body. But in back pain due to kidney problems, the pain is seen on the upper part of the body. This pain is felt on both sides.


Can Kidney Problems Affect Pregnancy?

Yes, kidney problems can affect pregnancy. The improper functioning of the kidneys will result in an improper purification process of the blood. This will, in turn, affect the growth of the fetus. In some cases, the growth of the baby is usually affected, and it might also result in stillborn births.


Can Patients With Kidney Disease Have a Baby?

Patients who are suffering from kidney problems are advised not to become pregnant because they might face a lot of complications in their pregnancy. In addition to this, the possibilities for them to develop a healthy baby are also less. So, they must get recovered from their condition first and choose to go for pregnancy.


What Are the Symptoms of Urinary System Diseases?

The symptoms of urinary system diseases are:
- Abdominal pain.
- Hematuria.
- Foul-smelling urine.
- Fever and chills.
- Back pain.
- Abdominal cramping.
- Frequent urination.
- General sickness.
- Cloudy urine.


What Are the Tests for Identifying the Kidney Function?

The tests for identifying the functioning of the kidney include the following:
Albumin to creatinine ratio: The albumin to creatinine ratio should be less than 30 under normal circumstances.
Glomerular filtration rate: The glomerular filtration rate will help in identifying the functioning of the kidneys. The normal value of the glomerular filtration rate should be more than 60mg/dl.


Does Kidney Have the Capacity to Heal Themselves?

Recent medical researches explain that kidneys have an excellent ability to repair and regenerate their cells. This regenerative ability of the kidneys helps them in overcoming any type of damage in the tissues of the kidneys. The cells of the kidneys are known as nephrons. These nephrons have the ability to function well after they undergo the reproductive process.


Is Renal Disease a Curable Condition?

If renal diseases are treated well, then they can be completely cured. The first goal of the treatment is to control the progression of the condition. With regular dialysis and proper care, the renal disease can be cured completely.


What Foods Can Help in Repairing Kidneys?

The foods that are suitable for improving the condition of the kidneys are:
- Cauliflower.
- Blueberries.
- Onions.
- Apples.
- Cranberries.
- Garlic.
- Cabbage.
- Red bell peppers.
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Dr. Manik Chhabra

Family Physician


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