There are many causes of kidney disease and these affect the kidney to different degrees, causing them to fail at different rates. Some of these are inherited, and while others are related to existing conditions such as diabetes, and other inflammatory conditions or infections. A list of causes of kidney failure is provided.
A) Diabetic nephropathy
This is kidney failure from long-standing and poorly-controlled diabetes. It is now the most important cause of end-stage renal disease in Singapore and elsewhere in the world. Patients with diabetes mellitus commonly have many other associated problems. These include heart attacks, strokes, eye disease, gangrene, numbness of the feet, and rapid swings in blood pressure from a lying to standing position. They are also prone to infections of the abdomen, skin, ears and feet. ( link to Endocrinology).
B) Chronic glomerulonephritis
This refers to a group of different kidney diseases that initially affect a specific microscopic structure of the kidney called the glomerulus. The most common form is called Ig A (pronounced as I G A) nephropathy. This kidney disease can take from 3 to 40 years before reaching end-stage renal disease. There are many others as well (focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis, membranous glomerulopathy, membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis, to name a few).
C) Polycystic kidney disease
This is a form of inherited kidney disease associated with the development of multiple sacs of fluid (cysts) within the substance of the kidney. These patients tend to develop hypertension, kidney stones, and recurrent urine infection or infections of the cysts of the kidney. They can have other associated problems, the most serious of which is a rupture of the blood vessels of the brain (called a leaking berry aneurysm), which can bring on a sudden and severe headache.
D) Lupus Nephritis
Patients with immune disorders called systemic lupus erythromatosus (SLE) commonly develop kidney disease. The patterns of kidney disease vary widely and their responses to therapy vary. Patients with SLE suffer usually from many other manifestations of their disease. These include hair loss, joint pains especially of the hands, wrists and knees, facial rash, mouth ulcers and involvement of the gut, lungs and blood.
E) Reflux nephropathy
This is another inherited disease characterised by recurrent urine infection in childhood associated with a backwash of urine from the bladder upward into the kidney during urination. This leads to kidney scarring, loss of kidney tissue and kidney failure.
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