June 6, 2010
Axia College of University of Phoenix
Kidney disease has become more prevalent over the years, one in nine Americans has chronic kidney disease, resulting in the need for a kidney transplant. Kidney failure is caused by variety of factors resulting in damage of the nephrons, which are the most important functioning unit of the kidneys. Kidney failure can be broken down into three groups: acute, chronic, end-stage. Once kidney failure is irreversible, dialysis or transplantation is the only method of survival. To avoid a kidney transplant, one needs to be aware of the pre-disposing factors, signs and symptoms, available treatments, and proper diet. The kidneys are twin organs about the size of a fist, and are at the lowest part of the rib cage on both sides of the spine (National Kidney Foundation, 2010). They have multiple working units called nephrons. “Nephrons consist of a filtering unit of tiny blood vessels called a glomerulus which is attached to a tube” (National Kidney Foundation, 2010). In the filtering process, “the blood enters the glomerulus in which it is filtered and the remaining fluid goes through the tubule,” in which chemicals and water are added or removed depending on what the body requires. The excess fluid is then removed through urination, the final phase of the function of the kidneys (National Kidney Foundation, 2010). The kidneys also produce hormones that maintain strong bones and healthy blood. Kidney failure occurs when the kidneys cannot properly eliminate waste from the body, and this causes accumulation of fluids and waste products. There are three types of kidney failure: Acute kidney failure develops unexpectedly because of severe infection, drugs or other chemical agents, or by physical trauma. Chronic kidney failure normally occurs over years and is manifested by several symptoms such as weight loss, low blood count, and nausea. End-stage kidney disease is the final stage and can lead to other diseases such as bone and heart diseases. It can also end in the need for kidney transplant or death (Stevens, 2009). Kidney disease affects about 26 million Americans which translate into one in nine adults with the disease. Kidney disease is more commonly found among certain ethnic groups, for example, African Americans who make up a large percentage, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans. It also affects senior citizens across racial and ethnic barriers (Nation Kidney Foundation, 2010). African Americans are more likely to develop kidney disease, for the reason that they are more prone to have diabetes and high blood pressure. The National Kidney Foundation states the following facts: African Americans suffer from End Stage Renal Disease disproportionately. In 2004, the incidence of kidney failure per million populations was 968 in African Americans, compared with 263 in White Americans. African Americans constitute about 32 percent of all patients treated for kidney failure in the U.S., but only about 12 percent of the overall U.S. population. African Americans also develop kidney failure at an earlier age than White Americans. In 2006, the mean age for African Americans at the start of treatment for kidney failure was 56.4 years, compared with 59.6 in White Americans. (National Kidney Foundation, 2010)
If detected early, kidney disease can be effectively treated and reversed. An awareness of the signs and symptoms of the disease is of primary importance. The number one physical sign of kidney disease is the change in urination, the constant urge to urinate, the presence of blood in the urine, and decrease in the volume of urine. Another physical sign of kidney disease is the swelling of the face, hands, ankles, and feet. Other physical signs and symptoms include: fatigue, skin rash, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, dizziness, headache, poor appetite, nose bleed, metallic taste in the mouth, and the...