Kidney disorders can
be initially caused by infection, degenerative changes, diabetes mellitus, high
blood pressure cysts, renal stones, or trauma (surgery,
burns, poisons). When these conditions are severe, renal failure may develop.
It may be acute or chronic. Acute renal failure
(ARF) occurs suddenly and may last a few days or a few weeks. It can
be caused by another medical problem such as a serious burn, a crushing injury,
or cardiac arrest. It can be expected in some of these situations, so
preventive steps should be taken.
Chronic kidney disease develops slowly,
causing the number of functioningnephrons to diminish. When renal tissue has
been destroyed to a point at which the kidneys are no longer able to filter the
blood, excrete wastes, or recycle nutri-ents as needed, uremia occurs. Uremia is a condition in
which protein wastes that should normally have been excreted are instead
circulating in the blood. Symp-toms include nausea, headache, convulsions, and
coma. Severe renal failure can result in death unless dialysis is begun or a kidney
transplant is performed.
Nephritis is a general term
referring to the inflammatory diseases ofthe kidneys. Nephritis can be caused
by infection, degenerative processes, or vascular disease.
Glomerulonephritis is an inflammation
affecting the capillaries in theglomeruli. It may occur acutely in conjunction
with another infection and be self-limiting, or it may lead to serious renal
Nephrosclerosis is the hardening of
renal arteries. It is caused by arte-riosclerosis and hypertension. Although it
usually occurs in older people, it sometimes develops in young diabetic
Polycystic kidney disease is a relatively rare,
hereditary disease. Cystsform and press on the kidneys. The kidneys enlarge and
lose function. Althoughpeople with this condition have normal kidney function
for many years, renal failure may develop near the age of 50.
Nephrolithiasis is a condition in
which stones develop in the kidneys.The size of the stones varies from that of
a grain of sand to much larger. Some remain at their point of origin, and
others move. Although the condition is sometimes asymptomatic, symptoms include
hematuria (blood in the urine), infection, obstruction, and, if the stones
move, intense pain. The stones are classified according to their
composition—calcium oxalate, uric acid, cystine, calcium phosphate,
and magnesium ammonium phosphate (known as stru-vite). They are associated with
metabolic disturbances and immobilization of the client.