Living With Kidney Stones – A Lifetime Challenge

The human body is simply amazing. The complexity of all processes that occur inside us every single second is truly unbelievable. We breathe, we digest, we think and we grow, without any conscious contribution to all these. However, the miracle of life is sometimes perturbed by various malfunctions or errors that generate abnormal behaviors. Kidney stones are one of these painful perturbations many of us have to live with for their entire life.



This medical condition is quite widespread, one in 20 people developing kidney stones at some point in their life. These stones are crystalline mineral formations, and they are located either inside the kidney or on the urinary tract. These stones appear whenever the urine volume decreases or when the stone-forming substances in it are too concentrated. Dehydration is one of the major risk factors for the formation of these minerals that can turn one’s life into a nightmare. They may form as a secondary symptom of other medical conditions such as gout, due to improper diet and lifestyle habits, or because of hereditary factors. This means that one can develop kidney stones even while living an impeccable life, with proper hydration and not too many excesses. It is important to maintain a good kidney health.

Most kidney stones are eliminated naturally, as they pass through the ureter to the bladder. They don’t need any help in finding their way through the urinary system. Nonetheless, the process of eliminating them is extremely painful, requiring medication to control the pain. In some cases, the patient needs to take medication that facilitates the passage of urine. Nevertheless, everybody who has to eliminate a kidney stone needs to be prepared to suffer.

This medical condition is easy to diagnose. The patient can’t hide it for too long, as the excruciating pains are going to send him to the doctor sooner rather than later. Ultrasound examination can reveal the presence of kidney stones, as well as their size. Smaller ones can pass through, but large ones may need to be broken down into smaller fragments, in order to be able to be eliminated. This can be achieved through ultrasonic treatment. Although not the most pleasant in the world, this treatment if well supported by patients, especially when a local anaesthetic is used.

Once a stone has been eliminated, the patient feels relief and an attenuation of the symptoms. However, as long as the risk factors are still present, new stones are going to get formed, so the process in going to repeat over and over again. Most patients know this, so they observe their symptoms closely, in order to be able to become aware as soon as possible. They can’t do much to help the stone pass through the ureter to the bladder, but they can take pain killers and drink more water, in order to urinate more frequently and in bigger volumes. Some of them choose not to bother their doctor anymore, as they are pretty sure what causes their horrible flank pain and bloody urine. Others, however, feel the urge to go the ER each time it happens. The pain is extremely intense, so it’s easy to understand why they need to see some doctors and nurses around them during such crises. However, after they are given pain control medication and perhaps some substances to ease the passage of the stone, they feel reassured they are going to be fine, so they go home and wait for the stone to get eliminated. This process can take a few days, so these people may not be able to go to work during all this time.

What should I do?

If you suffer from kidney stones, you may contact your doctor and ask him to help you identify the causes and the risk factors that apply to your case. If your condition isn’t hereditary, you might be able to stop the formation of these stones by limiting the salt consumption and by drinking plenty of water, so that you avoid getting dehydrated. If your condition is hereditary, all you can do is hope that you’ll only get small stones, as they are much easier to eliminate. Besides, you should trust in pain control medication, as it is your best friend during these periods.

Information on Kidney Failure

The final stage of chronic kidney disease is called kidney failure which is also known as ESRD (end-stage renal disease). When the kidneys fail, it literally means that the kidneys are no longer working well enough for the individual to survive without the use of dialysis or even a kidney transplant.

What Can Cause Kidney Failure?

Generally, kidney failure is brought on by other health issues which over time, little by little have caused permanent harm or even damage to the kidneys. Once the kidneys are damaged, they are not able to properly function. If the damage to the kidneys continues to worsen and the kidneys are not able to do their job properly, it is then considered to be chronic kidney disease. The final and most severe stage of chronic kidney disease is kidney failure. This is the reason why kidney failure is also known as end-stage renal disease, for short ESRD.

The most common cause of end-stage renal disease is in fact diabetes, the second most common cause of end-stage renal disease is high blood pressure. Other condition which can cause kidney failure are:

  • Diseases which are genetically passed on such as polycystic kidney disease.
  • Urinary tract issues.
  • IgA nephropathy, lupus and other autoimmune diseases.
  • Nephrotic syndrome.

There are however occasions in which the kidneys will suddenly stop working, this can even happen within a couple of days. This form of kidney failure is known as acute renal failure or acute kidney injury. Some common causes associated with acute renal failure are:

  • Abuse of drugs as well as illegal use of drugs.
  • Urinary tract issues.
  • Heart attack.
  • Insufficient blood flow to the kidneys.

The good thing however, is that this form of kidney failure is not always permanent. It may be possible for the kidneys to return to close to normal or even completely normal. This can be accomplished if there are no other underlying, serious health issues and with proper treatment.

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If someone has one of the health issues which may lead to kidney failure, it does not imply that they will definitely have kidney failure. If a healthy lifestyle is lead and the doctor’s instructions on controlling the issues at hand followed, it is possible for the kidneys to function properly for a long time, if not indefinitely. There are many Health Tips and Resources.

What Symptoms are Associated With Kidney Failure?

Generally, CKD (chronic kidney disease) will slowly worsen, many times symptoms will not be apparent until the kidneys are very badly damaged. During the later stages of chronic kidney disease, as the individual is closer to end-stage renal disease, symptoms which are brought on by excess waste and fluid build up in the body may be noticed.
If there is an onset of kidney failure, some of the symptoms may be as follows:

  • muscle cramping
  • lack of appetite or hunger
  • Extreme or not enough urination
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Itching
  • Nausea as well as vomiting
  • Swollen feet and or ankles
  • Difficulty catching their breath

If there is a sudden lack of kidney function, as in acute kidney failure, some of the symptoms may be:

  • Pain in the back
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Pain in the abdomen or belly area
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nosebleeds
  • Vomiting

If there are one or more of the above-mentioned symptoms, this could be a sign of kidney problems which could be very serious. If any of these symptoms were to arise, it is recommended to seek immediate professional advice.

How Is Kidney Failure Treated?

If someone is experiencing end-stage renal disease, to survive, it may be necessary to begin a dialysis treatment, it may even be necessary to have a kidney transplant. There is no one cure for end-stage renal disease, however, it is possible to live a long and productive life while undergoing dialysis treatment or after having had a kidney transplant.

Treating kidney failure can be done in various ways such as several types of dialysis treatments or a kidney transplant. The treatment plan will vary depending on many factors. It is best to consult a physician and find out what form of treatment will best suit each individual case.

If you or someone you love has any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it is important to seek immediate professional advice. When it comes to kidney failure, time is of the essence. The sooner proper treatment is commenced, the higher the chances of successful treatment and survival.