Pain stands for discomfort or suffering. When we talk about healthy life it means a life without pain. Physical pain is a result of disturbances in normal body functioning or any external injury. There are continuous researches going on to relieve humans from all kind of physical discomforts. The medical field is contributing a lot for providing better health to individuals.
The Kidneys are a vital organ of our body. Kidneys are paired bean like structure. This organ is located in the back just below the diaphragm. The kidneys are located one on the left and other on the right side of the retroperitoneal space. Kidneys have an important function of throwing away urea and other wastes from our body. In common words, kidneys are responsible for urine excretion.
Kidney Pain and Backache
It is difficult to differentiate between kidney pain and backache without professional help. In many cases the extent of pain is similar. This is one reason that people keep delaying medical help. Backache can be a result of exertion, bad posture, ligament injuries or inflammation. Backache is mild and dull pain. It can occur anywhere on your back but mostly it is felt in the lower back and hip region. One of the characteristics of this kind of pain is that it increases and decreases on the basis of the movement of certain body parts. It can be classified as acute or chronic pain. Acute pain stays for a short duration. It lasts for days or weeks. Chronic pain is for a long duration and usually lasts for months or years.
On the other hand, kidney pain can be identified as a sharp pointed pain between the ribcage and hip region. In cases of infections, the pain may be mild and dull but the origin remains the same. Kidney pain in most cases is observed on one side only but it can also occur on both sides. Kidney pain can also initiate the body’s self-defenses due to which symptoms such as fever, nausea, change in Colour of urine and sometimes blood in the urine are seen. The functioning of kidneys is disturbed which may also affect other body organs. Identification and early diagnosis of pain are of utmost importance to provide proper treatment for kidney pain.
Causes of Kidney Pain
Once the fact is established that a person is suffering from kidney pain the next step is to identify the cause of that pain. Kidney pain can be a result of many different diseases. Some of the most commonly occurring diseases which are responsible for kidney pain include:
- Kidney stones – It is also known as nephrolithiasis. Kidney stones are deposition of calcium, phosphate, oxalate or uric acid. These minerals harden and form a stone like structure which disturbs the functioning of kidneys causing sharp pain. Kidney stones vary in size depending upon the amount of deposition. Small kidney stones are usually passed into urine by the body itself whereas in case of large deposition the pain is severe and medical help is needed. When the stone passes through urine, the pain increases but there’s no long term damage to the urinary tract. Every year 50% of the total population suffer from kidney stones.
- Diabetes – It is one of the leading causes of kidney pain. Diabetes means increased blood glucose levels. Kidneys normal functioning include maintaining blood pressure, salt concentration i.e. osmoregulation and releasing enzymes. Diabetes leads to diabetic nephropathy. In this condition, the kidneys are exposed to an increased amount of certain substances like albumin and creatinine. Leakage of these substances harm kidneys in the long run. Patients with diabetes develop kidney pain and diseases in nearly 20 years. According to studies autoimmunity also develops in such cases causing even more damage to kidneys.
- Polycystic kidney disease – This is a severe condition as it has no cure. Cysts are non-cancerous sacs which are usually fluid filled. These cysts are inherited by parents to offspring. Cysts keep growing slowly through the course of life. Patients having cysts have a life expectancy of 60 years. The later stages are painful. There are treatments to overcome the symptoms of the disease but not the disease itself. Other organs are also affected by this disease due to increased blood pressure. One common symptom is blood in the urine.
- Urinary tract infection – Urinary tract is the passage from which urine is excreted out of our body. The infection of the urinary tract can involve urethra, bladder and kidneys in severe cases. The infection of kidneys involves severe pain in sides and back region, fever, nausea and vomiting. The identification can be done via ultrasound. These infections are caused by bacteria. UTI’s are common in females as the passage of entry is easily exposed to the outer environment. Public toilet seats and contact with unclean surfaces can lead to urinary tract infections.
- Renal vein thrombosis – Thrombosis is also called as clot formation in common language. The kidneys maintain blood pressure. Sometimes there is clot formation in kidneys which leads to pain and complications in renal area. This condition is common in adults. This is a life-threatening serious condition. If not treated it may cause kidney failure. Some common symptoms of this condition include bloody urine, low urine output, pain in kidneys and fever. In higher stages, the clots can spread to other organs via blood. This can damage other vital organs as well.
Identification of the causes is not a cake walk. Tests are performed to diagnose the actual reason behind this condition. Some commonly performed tests include CT scan, sonography, and urine analysis. The most common way of identification is urine analysis because it is easy and non- invasive technique i.e. Doesn’t involve any kind of discomfort.
Some additional factors that may lead to kidney problems are smoking, alcohol consumption, high blood pressure, improper diet and unhealthy lifestyle. Kidneys are present in pair in our body. A person can survive on just one. In the case of kidney failure, it is recommended to let the bodywork on one kidney. In the case of both kidney failure, a substitute is used. This is called a dialysis machine. This machine works like the kidneys normal physiological functioning and needs to be done at least 2-3 times in a week. This is a costly procedure hence not everyone can afford it.
According to world health organization 5- 10 million people die every year due to kidney diseases around the world. The numbers are quite high. Kidney cancer has also become prevalent in past years. This is another reason for kidney pain and failure. Premature birth and malnutrition are also listed as reasons responsible for kidney diseases. Although the development is slow and takes a year before complete failure.
Prevention is better than cure
The age-old recipe of grandma always said: “ Prevention is better than cure”. When there is a development of healthy habits, it eventually leads to a healthier lifestyle. A little care and attention can save a lot of lives. Genetic kidney diseases are passed on to children, therefore, genetic counseling must be taken before planning a child. Diabetes and high blood pressure must be controlled as soon as it is identified. There should be total avoidance of smoking, drinking, and unhealthy diet.
A healthy today will give a better tomorrow.