2 Terrible Things Happen When The Kidneys Don't Work!

2 Terrible Things Happen When The Kidneys Don't Work!

Updated on February 22, 2021
Est. Reading: 2 minutes

    When Kidneys Don't Work, They Don't Filter!

    Kidneys Don't Work
    Terrible Things Happen When Kidneys Don't Work!

    Two major things happen when the kidneys don't work. Remember, the kidneys are filters. When the filters don't work, we see:

    1. Poor Filtration of Substances

    Substances that should pass through the kidney don't get through and then build up in the blood. Increasing levels mean there is something wrong. Some of the substances include creatinine, BUN, acid-base & electrolytes, and drugs and toxins.

    substances building up in the blood because of kidneys don't work.
    Substances build up in the blood because of kidney problems

    Increased Creatinine

    The higher the creatinine, the lower the glomerular filtration rate. This is a simplified way of saying the percentage of kidney function that someone has.

    Increased BUN

    The higher the BUN is, the more likely we will see the signs and symptoms of the kidneys not working. These include:

    • Feeling tired. Not having the energy to get out of bed even.
    • Not feeling like eating any food.
    • Having a metallic taste in your mouth like sucking on coins.
    • Having uncontrolled hiccups that do not improve with drinking fluids.
    • Always feeling cold even when increasing the temperature.

    2. The Filters Become Leaky

    The kidney becomes leaky, and we see things in the urine that are not supposed to be there.

    When kidneys don't work they become leaky like this bucket with holes in it and allow things to pass through that shouldn't come through.
    When kidneys don't work they become leaky like this bucket with holes in it and allow things to pass through that shouldn't come through.

    Proteinuria (Protein in Urine)

    We see protein in the urine when it leaks from the filters in the kidneys. When there is protein in the urine, it represents a problem. We call this proteinuria. We will want to measure the amount of protein that there is in the urine and the type.

    Urine sample in container isolated on white background with clipping path, Bubble in urine specimen mean protein found in a urine sample known as proteinuria, determined by urine dipstick test. This happens when kidneys don't work.
    Bubble in urine specimen means an excess amount of protein found in a urine sample known as proteinuria, urine test strip or dipstick test used to determine protein in urine during urinalysis, a test to analyze the content of urine.

    Hematuria (Blood in the Urine)

    Blood in the urine is from 2 things. It can be from any part of the "plumbing" that makes up the urinary tract or from the kidneys themselves. That patient's story gives us a good clue if the blood is from the kidneys or not. We call blood in the urine hematuria.

    Hematuria. magnifying glass and beaker with urine. Closeup of Red blood cells. When kidneys don't work, sometimes you get hematuria.
    Hematuria is the presence of red blood cells in the urine (causing red discoloration). Magnifying glass and beaker with urine. Closeup of Red blood cells. Vector diagram for medical, biological, and scientific use
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    Brandy Carr Staff at The Kidney ExpertsBrandy Carr Staff at The Kidney ExpertsBrandy Carr Staff at The Kidney Experts
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    Some Helpful Definitions Regarding Kidneys

    Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

    Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is the gradual loss of kidney function. This happens to everyone over time. We do our best to slow down this process and prevent kidney failure. Sometimes we can even reverse disease!

    Kidneys

    The kidneys are the body's filters. When the kidneys don't work, many things happen. A Nephrologist tries to slow down chronic kidney disease. A Nephrologist tries to prevent kidney failure.

    Nephrologist

    A Nephrologist is a doctor for the kidneys. You need a kidney specialist to treat kidney failure. Nephrologists treat acid-base and electrolyte problems, as well. Nephrologists can also treat and prevent kidney stones.

    Nephrology

    Nephrology is the practice of medicine that deals with the kidneys. The focus is on diseases that cause kidney failure. Nephrology also deals with related diseases like high blood pressure and high blood sugar.

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    The Kidney Experts

    We do everything possible to slow down worsening kidney function. Sometimes, we can improve kidney function! When function declines, we focus on kidney transplantation and home therapies. We see you at a dialysis unit for regular dialysis for those unable to complete therapies at home.

    There is no need to have an office visit to answer your questions and get refills. We have staff available to answer your calls. We take care of you outside of your office visits.

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