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

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

Published on
February 22, 2021

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. Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) 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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Started Tummy (Peritoneal) Dialysis


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Questions about  Kidney Care

What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a gradual loss of kidney function, which happens to everyone over time. It's a natural part of aging, but we do our best to slow down this process and prevent kidney failure. Sometimes we can even reverse disease!

What are Kidneys?

The kidneys are a vital part of the body's filtering system. This system cleans the blood and removes harmful waste. If the kidneys do not function, they cannot filter toxins. This can lead to a host of problems. A specialist called a Nephrologist works to delay chronic kidney disease. A Nephrologist works to prevent kidney failure.

What is a Nephrologist?

A nephrologist is a medical doctor specializing in the kidneys. They order blood tests, ultrasound, kidney biopsies, and other tests to rule out diseases and complications. They also prescribe medications and make referrals to other specialists.

What is Nephrology?

Nephrology is the practice of medicine that deals with the kidneys. The kidneys are responsible for filtering wastes from the blood and producing urine. Nephrology is concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of kidney diseases. The focus is on diseases that cause kidney failure.

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Kidney disease is a very serious condition that can have a major impact on your health. To prevent further disease, it is important to focus on a healthy lifestyle. We will help you find a cause for your kidney disease and develop a plan to avoid further complications.
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Kidney disease can be a frightening thing. We help you understand what it's like to live with kidney disease and how we can help you live the best possible life. We are here for you. Reach out to us in any way you need for your kidney care needs. We are available by phone, text, email, or MyChart.

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Kidney disease can be confusing. You are not alone. Because kidney disease is progressive, it can be hard to figure out what the future holds. It's important to stay informed and plan ahead. Our team of experts will walk with you every step of the lifelong journey through kidney disease. We are here for you. We will help you with information on how to know your numbers and monitor your health, an individualized care plan, convenient blood testing, and a variety of support programs.

We cover a wide range of care related to kidney disease, including, but not limited to the following


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The Kidney Experts

We do everything possible to slow down the worsening function of your kidneys. 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 visit us to answer your questions and get refills. We have staff available to answer your calls. We don't take care of you only while you are at our office. We are always ready to take care of you whenever you need us to

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