Can Kidney Function Be Restored?

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… Continued …

How severe is it?

The ability of the kidneys to repair nephrons after disease pays more attention in research. Because, nephrons are the key functional units to support the main function of the kidney! Each of these units consists of:

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  1. A blood-filtering unit.
  2. Glomerulus, a network of capillaries (very small blood vessels).
  3. Complex tubules.

The kidney has lots of small tubules. They are also important to help filter blood. They play a role to accumulate filtrate and process it before eventually passing it on to tubes leading to the bladder.

Many times, tubules are affected in kidney disease. Even though if the disease begins in the filters, tubules are often involved because they are very susceptible to get injured!

Mild damage might be able to be naturally repaired by the kidneys. But many times, they cannot repair severe damage. In other words, this natural repair mechanism is limited.

For instance, if some of small tubules get damaged they can be repaired – but this damage can also be severe enough to cause serious or even permanent nephron damage. And unfortunately the kidneys don’t make new nephron, though they can recover and regenerate.

In acute kidney disease, the damaged tubules usually improve or even are capable to recover completely (though not always). For chronic kidney disease (CKD), the injuries can be progressive which then may eventually cause permanent damage to nephrons. If you have CKD, how well you control it can significantly affect the outlook and prognosis of the disease!

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Many theories have been proposed to explain how kidneys can repair themselves. Some suggest that local specific stem cells may be stimulated to differentiate and rebuild. Others theorize that the kidneys may call up circulating stem cells to move into and regenerate the damaged area. Unfortunately, this is still debatable. The exact answer on the kidney self-repair is not fully known.

Early support for the kidneys to repair themselves

Currently, there is nothing you can do to restore the function of nephrons that have been dead with permanent damage. But for some with mild damage or just injure, you can save them.

Early treatment can help provide a good environment to optimize the self-healing ability of the kidney and protect the healthy nephrons. Even some lifestyle changes may help, too – any early step that you do to make your kidneys work more easily can help.

The earlier the kidney damage is detected, the better chance of stopping its progression. Taking treatment as early as possible means more nephrons that you can save and make the kidney self-healing to work better.

Unfortunately, kidney disease is a silent killer – it often destroys nephrons silently and slowly. And there is usually no early symptom. Many times, it takes years or even decades for the damage to cause noticeable symptoms such as changes in urination and fluid retention (see more in here).

Kidney disease is attributed by a number of different causes. The treatment is usually determined based on the underlying cause. Chronic high blood pressure and high blood sugar are two leading causes of kidney damage, as noted before.

If high blood pressure (hypertension) is to blame, some medications are available. There are also plenty of lifestyle measures to help cope with hypertension, you can learn more in here! And if you’re a diabetic, it’s very important to control your diabetes as well.

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