“Kidney disease” isn’t a single disease, but rather a group of diseases and disorders that affect the kidney in various ways. While these conditions have different root causes, symptoms, and treatments, they all interfere with the kidneys’ ability to perform the basic functions they are designed for, including removing waste from your blood, keeping a balance of minerals and water in your blood, and helping your body manage your blood pressure. These are some of the most common kidney diseases:

Acute Glomerulonephritis (GN)

Acute glomerulonephritis is a form of glomerulonephritis that develops suddenly, either on its own or as a result of another disease, such as diabetes or lupus. Acute GN means that the glomeruli, or the parts of the kidney that filter blood, are damaged.

Acute GN can go away on its own in some cases, but you may need medication or even temporary treatment with an artificial kidney machine to help remove extra fluid, control blood pressure, and prevent kidney failure. Generally speaking, treatment for acute GN is directed toward the underlying cause of the condition and is focused on protecting your kidneys from further damage.

Chronic Renal Disease

Chronic renal disease, also called chronic kidney disease or chronic kidney failure, is a condition in which you gradually lose your kidney function. When chronic renal disease reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of wastes, fluids, and electrolytes can build up in your body, making treatment essential for survival.

Treatment for chronic renal disease is focused on slowing the progression of your kidney damage, usually by targeting the underlying cause. If the disease progresses to end-stage renal failure, one of two treatment options is essential:

  • Dialysis: In dialysis, a machine artificially removes extra fluid and waste products from your blood once your kidneys can no longer do so.
  • Kidney transplant: A healthy kidney from a donor is surgically placed into your body.

Acute Renal Disease

Acute renal disease occurs when your kidneys suddenly stop working. It can be caused by direct physical damage to the kidneys, having urine backed up in the kidneys, or not having enough blood flow to the kidneys.

Treatment for acute renal disease is the same as for chronic renal disease: you must either undergo dialysis or have a kidney transplant.

  • Dialysis: In dialysis, a machine artificially removes extra fluid and waste products from your blood once your kidneys can no longer do so.
  • Kidney transplant: A healthy kidney from a donor is surgically placed into your body.

Kidney Cancer

As the name suggests, kidney cancer is cancer that forms in your kidneys. For adults, renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer, though other, less common types of kidney cancer can also occur.

Treatment for kidney cancer usually begins with surgery to try to remove the cancer. If the cancer is confined to the kidney, that could be the only treatment you need. There are two forms of surgery:

  • Nephrectomy, where the entire affected kidney is removed.
  • Partial nephrectomy, also called kidney-sparing or nephron-sparing surgery, is where the surgeon removes the cancer and a small amount of healthy tissue surrounding it rather than removing the entire kidney.

There are other treatment options as well. Non-surgical kidney cancer treatment options include treatment to freeze cancer cells (cryoablation) and treatment to heat cancer cells (radiofrequency ablation). For advanced or recurrent kidney cancer, you may need immunotherapy, radiation therapy, or targeted therapy.

Nephrotic Syndrome

Nephrotic syndrome, also called nephrosis, is a kidney disorder that causes your body to pass too much protein in your urine. As your kidney function gets worse, extra fluids and salt build up in your body, leading to swelling, high blood pressure, and higher cholesterol levels.

Treatment for nephrotic syndrome typically involves treating the underlying condition and taking medications. Since the disorder can increase your chances of developing infections or blood clots, doctors may recommend specific medications and dietary changes designed to prevent complications. Some possible treatments your doctor may recommend are:

  • Corticosteroids, such as prednisone
  • Diuretics (water pills)
  • A low salt diet
  • Blood pressure medications
  • Blood thinners (anticoagulants)

Addressing your kidney disease

With any of these kidney disorders, it is important that you see a specialist with the experience and knowledge necessary to effectively treat your condition.

At Southeastern Massachusetts Dialysis Group, providing top-quality, compassionate care is our #1 priority. We know that understanding your condition and picking the right treatment option can be tough. That’s why our doctors work closely with each patient to help them understand their care options so they can feel comfortable and confident every step of the way.

Our doctors are leaders in all kinds of kidney disease diagnosis and management. They help patients throughout the southeastern Massachusetts area learn about the best ways to manage their disease to maximize their health. Keeping your kidneys as healthy as possible begins with an office visit and evaluation. Give us a call today or use our online contact form and we’ll get in touch with you.