Organ Failure

Organ Failure – Kidney Kidney are a pair of organs that are located in the lower back of our bodies. (Taylor, “Kidneys”)  One kidney is located on each side of our spine. It filters our blood as well as removes toxin from our body. The kidney sends toxins to the bladder which is later removed through urination. When a person’s kidney stops working properly it’s called as kidney failure. (Young, “Your Kidneys and How They Work”)   There are two kidney failures acute and chronic ones. Acute Kidney Failure means when your kidney suddenly loses the ability to get rid of excess salts and waste materials from blood and Chronic Kidney Failure is more serious as it has been developed over a period of time.(“Chronic Kidney Failure”)  This kind of failure usually comes in a passive form, when the doctors are finding it hard to identify the problem.                                             Fig. 1. As per the Diabetes Council, “ 50 percent of people with diabetes will experience some form of kidney damage in their lifetime, even if they never experience kidney failure or end up on dialysis.” There can be many reasons for kidney failure. The most common one being Diabetes.  It is a condition in which our body does not properly process food for use as energy,  as most of the food we eat is turned into a substance called glucose or sugar which are body uses to gain energy. Pancreas is an organ which is located near the stomach, it produces a hormone called insulin to help glucose to get into the cells in our body. However in the condition of diabetes the body doesn’t make enough insulin which cause sugars to build up in our blood which means that are kidneys have to filter an excessive amount of sugar from our blood. (“Kidney Disease (Nephropathy)” )  Thus, all this extra filtering causes strain on the kidney. As seen in Fig. 2. the Kidneys starts to leak causing a loss of useful protein from your body through urine. During this overload the kidney start to loose their filtering ability and waste products build up in the blood, finally causing the kidneys to fail.   Fig. 2. Since we know that the kidney helps filter wastes and extra fluids from our blood using the blood vessels to perform this function. When these blood vessels get damaged they don’t tend to receive oxygen and other nutrients that they require to function well. (“ How High Blood Pressure can Lead to Kidney Damage or Failure)”  This is why high blood pressure is the second most important reason for kidney failure as over a period of time,  the high blood pressure can cause the arteries located around the kidney to narrow or weaken. These damaged arteries are then not able to deliver adequate amount of blood to the kidney tissues. For example consumption of excessive caffeine can cause kidney failure as drinks that contain caffeine can cause high blood pressure which in turn put strain of kidneys causing our kidneys to fail over time.  (Healthveins. “8 Habits that damage your kidney.” Youtube. 12 Apr 2017. Web. 19th Jan 2018 ) As mentioned above Diabetes is the main cause of Kidney Failure in most cases.  According to Fig. 3 we can see that Diabetes is said to be the most prevalent cause of kidney Failure followed by High Blood Pressure. In accordance with the Diabetes Council it is said that, “ In 2008 over 50,000 people with Diabetes began with end- stage Kidney Disease in the United States.”                                                            Fig. 3. The above mentioned reasons are just the two most important common and serious ones that lead to kidney failure. However there are many normal habits that a human being  does unintentionally that can lead to kidney failure. Some of them being;  Insufficient intake of water as already mentioned the main function of the kidney is to drain out the metabolic waste in our body as insufficient water consumption will lead to a build up of toxins in our body. Secondly High salt consumption can also lead to kidney failure as salt contains sodium and excessive intake of sodium can put our kidneys at risk. According to Healthveins, statistics show that “90% of Americans consume salt more than they should.” Once the kidneys have been exhausted or failed completely the treatment options are very limited to either dialysis which cleanses the waste products in the body by the use of filter systems or kidney transplantation. Kidney transplantation occurs when the kidney failure is non reversible. A neurologist will contact an organ transplant center to check whether the patient is suitable in order to undergo this treatment.  If the patient is suitable the donor is then found which is a person who has dies or sometimes a family members may have been detected with the compatible tissue which means they are able to donate a kidney. If not the patient will be given an organ which is maintained by the United Network of Organ Sharing. ( US Department of Health and Human Services, “Kidney” )  Surgeons usually place the transplanted kidney in the lower abdomen where they connect the artery and the vein from the transplanted kidney to the patients kidney so the blood can flow through the new kidney. The surgeon also attaches the ureter from the transplanted kidney with the patients to bladder to allow the urine flow. The transplanted Kidney may start working properly or may even take some weeks to make urine and if it doesnt the patient will have to undergo dialysis treatment. If these kidneys come in contact with any sort of infection or High blood pressure or even are cancerous they will remain the patient’s body and will not be treated. In agreement with the United Network of Organ Sharing the Research shows that, “ After one year 95% of transplanted kidneys are still functioning and after five years the number is 80%.”   Some benefits of kidney transplantation include that successful kidney transplantation treats peoples kidney failures and gives back the normal health the patient had, usually the patient has less restrictions on the intake of fluid and diet after receiving the transplantation and lastly many patients may return to work and live a normal life after the transplant. However it has many limitations like the transplant may not last a lifetime or the operation may even fail completely which could lead to deaths although this is very rare. Secondly, daily medications are required which may lead to various different side effects like weight gain, acne or excess hair growth.  

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