What is Kidney Scarring?
Kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organ, each with a size same of a fist. The kidneys play a vital role to our body’s physiology as it filters our blood from toxic waste and excess water. In short, the kidney helps clean the body. It filters around 200 quarts of blood every day, while the filtered waste products turn into urine, which is stored into the bladder and then excreted when urination is required.
Damage to the kidney leads to a lot of complications. When damaging occurs, normal process of wound healing will take place. This wound healing will then result to scarring of the tissues thus affecting the important function of the kidney – filtering waste products. When these happen, there will be imbalance in the nutrients needed of the body and the damage will further progress. Filtering of waste will be disturbed. This then will lead to kidney scarring.
Picture – Kidney scarring Mechanism
Image Source - edren.org
Kidney Scarring Causes
There are several causes of kidney scarring. All can be prevented and treated.
High blood pressure. When a kidney tissue is damaged, it produces a hormone that affects and increases blood pressure. High blood pressure then can affect the arteries that lead to the kidney causing more damage and loss of normal function.
Diabetes. Also known as Diabetic Kidney Disease or Diabetic Nephropathy. High blood sugar level causes protein to link together in the glomeruli. This causes localized scarring process called glomerulosclerosis.
Infection (UTI).Urinary tract infection can develop into a more serious, life-threatening kidney infection if left untreated. This serious infection may then lead to kidney malfunction and permanent scarring.
Autoimmune system disease (Lupus). The immune system fails to protect the body from viruses and bacteria when one has Lupus. This results to damage in the kidney and failure in filtering blood which then will result to scarring.
Obstruction (kidney stones). Obstruction in the kidneys is caused by formation of stones from the minerals of urine. These stones block the urine flow and causes damage to the kidney tissue.
Kidney Scarring Symptoms
Some don’t manifest symptoms until they undergo check-up. Yet, it is best to be aware of some of the early signs of Kidney scarring.
Proteinuria. Presence of protein in the urine
Fluid retention. Swollen ankles
Ascites. Excessive amount of fluid in the abdominal cavity
Hematuria. Presence of blood in the urine
If these symptoms are observed or manifests, it is best to see and consult a doctor at once to confirm if there is scarring of the kidney so that treatment can be implemented as soon as possible.
Kidney Scarring Treatment
When a tissue in the kidney is scarred, it is sadly irreversible. So physician’s main concern is to control and eliminate the cause of the scarring to prevent further kidney scarring.
Medications. Antibiotics for UTI, Diuretics for fluid retention and ACE inhibitors for high blood pressure
Diet. Low protein diet for proteinuria, and Diabetic diet which consists of low sugar, low cholesterol and low fat.
Exercise. Exercise helps keep body healthy and functioning well plus it helps in controlling blood sugar level.
It is very important to treat underlying causes as there is no other way to treat kidney scarring. The earlier these causes are recognized, the better result in avoiding further complications.