When Kidneys Don’t Work, They Don’t Filter!
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.
The higher the creatinine, the lower the glomerular filtration rate. Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) is a simplified way of saying the percentage of kidney function that someone has.
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.
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.
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.