Renal refers to the kidneys and there are basically two sub types of renal medical conditions, vascular and parenchymal.
Vascular refers to medical conditions that involve the blood vessels and parenchymal refers to medical conditions involving the tissue, therefore renal parenchymal disease refers to diseases that involve the kidney tissue. There can be parenchymal disease in other organs of the body such as the lungs. When renal parenchymal disease is seen on an ultrasound it means that the kidney has lost part or all of its function. The kidney can be scarred or damaged because of disease making it unable to function properly, therefore resulting in the kidney losing the ability to filter waste products properly. There are several medical conditions that can cause renal scarring. The kidneys produce hormones, regulate chemicals in the blood and remove waste and excess fluid from the body. Urine produced by the kidneys involves several complex steps. Processing by the kidneys and urine production is a necessary part of providing a stable balance of chemicals within the body. The kidneys are organs that regulate the body’s salt, acid content and potassium. The kidneys also produce vitamins and hormones that are needed for the functioning of other organs. Many of the hormones that are produced from the kidneys are needed by the body for everything from stimulating hemoglobin, which is red blood cells. As well as the kidneys help regulate blood pressure and control the body’s metabolism of certain vitamins and minerals.
Parenchymal kidney disease can affect one or both of the kidneys, however usually scarring and damage to the tissue is seen in both kidneys. If the kidneys are seriously damaged and unable to remove and regulate chemicals and water, the waste and excess fluid will start to build up causing severe edema and eventually kidney failure.
Kidney disease can either be acquired, hereditary or congenital.
Polycystic renal disease is hereditary type of kidney disease and starts in childhood and follows through adulthood. Other hereditary kidney diseases include Alport’s syndrome and cystinuria.
Congenital renal disease involves some abnormal malformation of the genitourinary tract, which leads to an obstruction. The obstruction then produces infection and destroys the kidney tissue. The destruction of the tissue such as with scarring eventually progresses to kidney failure. This form of kidney disease is a good example of parenchymal renal disease.
Acquired renal disease can refer to inflammation or nephritis and can be caused by a vast array of problems such as drug abuse.
Kidney stones are very common, and when they pass the pain can be very severe. Stone formation can be either an inherited problem or because of an obstruction or a severe kidney infection. Kidney stones can also cause scarring and damage to the kidneys if not properly treated, however kidney stones can be managed successfully with early detection.
High blood pressure can also cause kidney problems or can in some instances be the result of kidney disease itself. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can increase the risk of kidney disease and lead to diagnosis of undetected severe kidney medical problems and parenchymal renal disease.
Diabetes is another medical condition that can lead to kidney disease. Certain medications such as chemotherapy medications, pesticides and illegal drugs can also cause severe damage the kidneys and kidney tissues.
Some of the warning signs for any renal disease are:
- Difficulty urinating, or painful urination
- Frequent urination
- Blood in the urine
- Swelling of the face especially around the eyes, or edema in the feet and hands
- Back pain just below the ribcage
Some renal diseases can be treated, however when the kidney disease progresses to kidney failure it may ultimately require dialysis or kidney transplantation.
Kidney conditions such as infections and stones can often be easily treated. Chronic renal inflammation is however commonly seen kidney disease, and can slowly progress to kidney failure if not properly treated.
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