Nephrology 101

Polycystic Kidney Disease

This is a genetic disease and is one of the most common “Mutations” in genetic diseases. Usually one of your parents will have this disease even if no-one else in the family has it. Cysts develop in the kidneys and interfere with their ability to filter waste products from the blood. The growth of cysts causes the kidneys to become enlarged and can lead to high blood pressure, kidney stones and pain. Eventually, kidney failure requires dialysis or transplantation.
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Inflammation of the filters of the kidneys cause blood and protein to be lost in the urine. Causes are often unknown but may stem from the body’s immune system. If caught early, many types of glomerulonephritis can be stopped.
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Acute Kidney Failure

This means your kidneys have suddenly stopped working but this is usually reversible.
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Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Chronic Kidney Disease advances over months or years and has five stages, with stage one being very benign, and stage 5 seriously affecting quality of life and long term life expectancy if untreated.
Should your Chronic Kidney Disease advance to full Kidney Failure, your treatment options are Dialysis or a Renal Transplant. You may also choose not to treat.
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What is Dialysis?

Dialysis is the artificial process of getting rid of waste and unwanted water from the blood. Your healthy kidneys would normally perform this. Dialysis can be performed on a machine in the hospital, a dialysis clinic, or at home. Follow this link for more information. Humboldt County offers dialysis clinics in Eureka and Mckinleyville. Click here for more info

Renal Transplant

Since we are born with two, transplant kidneys are more readily available than many organs and are often donated by a family member or spouse. Usually, your own kidneys are left inside your body, and the donor kidney is placed in the lower abdomen. The kidney usually begins to work right away.

After transplant, you will probably need immunosuppressive medicine for the rest of your life to prevent the rejection of your transplant. Transplant kidneys have been known to last 20 – 30 years, but it is common to need a second transplant kidney. For more information click here.

Redwood Renal will be your partner in the process, and is proud to say Humboldt County has one of the highest transplant rates for California. Our goal for likely transplant candidates would be to pre-emptively transplant before dialysis is ever needed