National Kidney Month 2016: kidney stones, kidney failure, chronic kidney disease, and pyelonephritis

March is the National Kidney Month 2016, touching upon topics such as kidney stones, chronic kidney disease, and pyelonephritis. The kidneys are part of the urinary tract, and although you technically can live with just one, it’s still a good idea to do what you can to keep them both healthy.

Americans often overlook their kidneys until there is a problem, but getting your kidneys routinely checked is a good idea to avoid kidney-related complications.


Here is a compilation of some of Bel Marra Health’s news stories about kidney health and other kidney-related problems to not only inform you about your kidneys, but to offer your preventative methods to keep them healthy.

Kidney stones risk in menKidney stones risk in men linked to high dosage of vitamin C

Kidney stone risk in men has been found to be linked to high dosage of vitamin C. A Swedish study looked at over 23,000 Swedish men and their daily dose of vitamin C. Over an 11-year period, two percent of the men developed kidney stones, and those who reported vitamin C supplementation were twice as likely to develop kidney stones. Important to note is that the intake of a standard multivitamin did not affect kidney stone risk.

The average man requires 90 mg of vitamin C and women require 75 mg. Vitamin C is an essential vitamin as it helps cell repair, fights off free radicals, and boosts the immune system. Many individuals consume excess vitamin C as a means to prevent illness, and yet there is not enough evidence to support such practice.

The Swedish researchers are not the first to uncover that high amount of vitamin C can pose a risk to health. Researchers at Harvard have also found the connection between high dose vitamin C and kidney stones in men, but studies on women did not yield the same results.

There are many reasons as to why kidney stones form, including genes, weight, and diet. The most common type of kidney stone is a combination of calcium and oxalate, which is commonly found in food. In some individuals, vitamin C is broken down into oxalate – which can explain the connection. Continue reading…

Kidney failure riskKidney failure risk in chronic kidney disease patients estimated by new online tool 

A new online tool is designed to estimate kidney failure risk in chronic kidney disease. The online tool combines results of common medical tests and can estimate with high accuracy the risk of a person developing kidney failure within two to five years if they already have chronic kidney disease. The tool not only helps distinguish a high-risk patient for kidney failure, but offers peace of mind for those living with chronic kidney disease of knowing if they are at risk of not.

Estimates of Americans diagnosed with chronic kidney disease are over 20 million and 660,000 have kidney failure. Dr. Josef Coresh, researcher in the study, said, “This tool allows doctors to sit down with their patients and explain how likely it is that their kidneys will fail in the near future. While the tool can aid in management of a patient’s disease and prepare them for the worst, many more patients will find the results reassuring. You can reassure a lot of worried people with the fact that their risk is actually very low. The vast majority of patients will not need dialysis.”

The original tool was first created by Canadian researchers, but it was criticized for lack of data on African-Americans who have high rates of chronic kidney disease. With the new model, more data is entered covering all races and ethnicities allowing it to be more accurate.

Coresh added, “We’ve known which were the important tests to consider in determining the risk of kidney failure, but we didn’t know exactly how to put them together and we didn’t have a high level of confidence that this tool could be used widely. Now we do.”

The tool not only helps determine kidney failure risk, but it can also be useful for adhering to medications, promoting lifestyle changes, and improving diet. Continue reading…

Psoriasis CKDPsoriasis is a chronic kidney disease (CKD) risk factor independent of diabetes and heart disease: Study

Psoriasis is a risk factor for chronic kidney disease (CKD), and it’s found to be independent of diabetes and heart disease, which are other known risk factors for CKD. The researchers recommend close monitoring of kidney problems in kidney patients who have three percent or more of their body affected by psoriasis, a skin condition. Detecting kidney problem early on and beginning treatment right away can prevent it from developing into chronic kidney disease.

Psoriasis affects the skin and the joints, and is prevalent in two to four percent of the general population. Other research has shown links between psoriasis and diabetes and heart disease, while studies on psoriasis and kidney disease have been small and offered conflicting results.

A research team from Philadelphia decided to compare the risk of chronic kidney disease in patients with and without psoriasis.

The researchers identified 143,883 patients with psoriasis who were matched with 689,702 controls. The team then analyzed patients who had a diagnosis of CKD based on tests between 2003 and 2010.

Researchers found that patients with psoriasis, especially with severe psoriasis, were at a higher risk of developing later stage kidney disease, compared to the control patients. Even after adjusting for other known risk factors, psoriasis remained an independent risk factor for chronic kidney disease. Continue reading…

PyelonephritisPyelonephritis (kidney infection) caused by E.coli bacteria can increase risk of kidney damage, sepsis

Pyelonephritis (kidney infection) caused by E. coli bacteria can increase the risk of kidney damage and sepsis. Pyelonephritis is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI) typically caused by E. coli bacteria. The bacteria can spread from the bladder or the urethra to either one or both of the kidneys.

Serious complications can arise if a kidney infection is not treated promptly, like kidney damage and sepsis (blood poisoning).

There are two main types of kidney infections: uncomplicated kidney infection and complicated kidney infection. Uncomplicated kidney infection is when a person is healthy and the risk of complications is highly unlikely. In complicated kidney infections, a person is more likely to suffer from complications, possibly due to a coexisting medical condition or illness. Continue reading…

Kidney disease in womenKidney disease in women linked to higher risk of peripheral arterial disease, poor leg circulation

Kidney disease in women is linked to a higher risk of peripheral arterial disease and poor leg circulation. The new study looked at nearly 3,200 individuals with chronic kidney disease (CKD), and the researchers found that women under the age of 70 with kidney disease had a 53 percent greater risk of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), in comparison to men.

On the other hand, after the age of 70, the difference was no longer seen between the genders.
In explanation of the differences, the authors wrote, “Females are known to have smaller diameter vessels compared to men.” Smaller vessels means that smaller buildup is required to cause a blockage and so women with kidney disease must be monitored earlier on, compared to men.


Dr. Reese Wain, chief of vascular surgery at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, said, “Based on these results, it is imperative that we maintain a higher index of suspicion for diagnosing such vascular problems in women sooner.”
Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, who directs women’s heart health at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, added, “Women’s arteries are significantly affected by kidney disease, and this correlation emphasizes the critical importance of early screening and detection for those women at the greatest risk.”

PAD is a condition in which the arteries that carry blood to the legs and arms become narrow. Over time, if left untreated, it can lead to serious disability or even loss of a limb.
Previous research on PAD in women showed that women often experience greater disability and complications with PAD compared to men.

The researchers believe the new findings suggests that women beginning at the age of 50 should start being screened for PAD if they have smoked or have diabetes or the age of 65 if they have other risk factors of PAD. Continue reading…