For Your Kidneys

All About Your Kidneys

Many different types of kidney disease can lead to kidney failure. Here are some brief descriptions of the more common diseases:


The most common cause of end stage renal failure in New Zealand. It damages the filtering membranes in the kidney directly, as well as damaging blood vessels throughout the body, increasing the risk of high blood pressure which can in itself cause renal failure. The presence of protein in the urine of diabetic patients can indicate the extent of damage to the kidney's filters.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can result from chronic kidney disease and it is also a cause of CKD. It damages the small vessels that deliver blood to the kidney filters, and can also damage the filters themselves. This means that if the high blood pressure is not identified and treated it is possible for the body to enter a "vicious cycle" in which high blood pressure leads to kidney damage and , which leads to even higher blood pressure. Effective treatment for blood pressure can reduce the kidney damage by half.

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract. Kidney stones form when some waste materials in your urine clump together to form a solid crystal. These can be as small as a grain of sand to as big as a golf ball and can block the flow of urine, cause infections and kidney damage.

The kidneys act as the body’s filtering system, the kidneys absorb the good chemicals and minerals and get rid of the unwanted ones in our urine. If certain chemicals and minerals such as calcium oxalate, uric acid or phosphate build up in the kidneys, or in the urine they can form a stone. Calcium oxalate are the most common. Most stones start out small in size and grow larger over time. The stones may stay in the kidney or travel down the ureter into the bladder.

Nephritis (also known as glomerulonephritis )

Nephritis means the inflammation of the filtering units of the kidneys - the nephrons. In individuals with nephritis, the body's own immune system attacks the nephron and causes inflammation, damage and scarring. Some forms are treatable, but most are not. In its chronic form, nephritis affects both kidneys and causes slow, progressive damage. It can occur very rapidly or very slowly, and whilst some individuals recover without treatment, others progress to chronic renal failure. Rarely hereditary, most cases of nephritis occur at random. The little information available on causes of nephritis makes it an active area of medical research world wide.

Polycystic kidney disease

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD)Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a condition that affects the kidneys.When people have PKD, abnormal fluid-filled sacs"cysts" grow in the kidney. As these cysts grow, they cause the kidney to swell and eventually fail. PKD is the most common genetic cause of kidney failure, accounting for approximately 10% of all dialysis patients. There are two different types of polycystic kidney disease, dominant and recessive.

Dominant PKD; Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD) occurs in 90% of cases and usually affects adults. And recessive PKD; Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease (ARPKD) this is a much less commmon form of PKD.This is typically a childhood disease and the signs and symptoms often appear shorly after birth.

Reflux nephropathy

Reflux nephropathy (RN)RN is the term used by doctors to describe a form of kidney failure associated with the backflow of urine from the bladder into the kidneys. RN can also occur if the flow of urine is obstructed for any reason, for example, by a blockage to the bladder outlet. In this circumstance, back pressure builds up in the kidneys and damages them. Correcting the blockage and relieving the pressure on the kidneys can prevent this form of reflux nephropathy.

The reflux of urine from the bladder up to the kidneys is often diagnosed in younger children with reoccuring urine infections. In these cases, while operations are sometimes performed to correct it, the reflux is often resolved spontaneously.
People with damaged or scarred kidneys as a part of reflux nephropathy can develop high blood pressure which can in turn further damage the kidneys.For more about Reflux nephropathy click here.