WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF CHRONIC KIDNEY FAILURE?
Chronic kidney failure is always the consequence of a disease that progressively deteriorates the functioning of the kidneys.
The two main causes of chronic kidney failure are type 1 diabetes, as well as type 2 diabetes and hypertension. These two diseases damage the small blood vessels that carry blood to the kidney cells responsible for the elimination of water and metabolic waste products. Deprived of oxygen, these cells die and their numbers gradually decrease, reducing the kidneys’ overall filtration capacity.
Other diseases act in a similar way to disrupt blood microcirculation in the kidneys: autoimmune diseases (e.g. lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, Berger’s disease, rheumatoid purpura, etc.), or excess blood cholesterol. Obesity and smoking also increase the risk of chronic kidney failure.
Other diseases can cause chronic kidney failure: polycystic kidney disease (an inherited disease) or recurrent upper urinary tract infections (pyelonephritis), for example. Finally, in some cases, chronic kidney failure may be related to the long-term use of drugs that are toxic to the kidneys, such as certain cancer chemotherapies, antibiotics, high blood pressure drugs, and lithium (in the treatment of bipolar disorder).
CAN CHRONIC KIDNEY FAILURE BE PREVENTED?
People who suffer from diseases that increase the risk of developing chronic kidney failure should be regularly monitored for the onset of kidney failure. This close medical follow-up and compliance with prescribed treatments are the basis for the prevention of chronic kidney failure.
For people who do not suffer from these predisposing diseases, there are no preventive measures. Nevertheless, in the case of a urinary infection, it is preferable to consult and treat it quickly to avoid the negative effect of repeated urinary infections on kidney health.
During occupational medicine visits, the urine test is used to screen for both diabetes and kidney failure (presence of protein in the urine).