Common kidney disorders: Causes, symptoms and treatment options | Health - Hindustan Times

Common kidney disorders: Causes, symptoms and treatment options

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Jun 22, 2023 05:45 PM IST

Health experts reveal all you need to know about the common kidney disorders. Check out their causes, symptoms and treatment options

The kidneys play a vital role in maintaining the body's overall health by filtering waste products, regulating electrolyte balance and producing hormones however, various kidney disorders can disrupt these essential functions, leading to significant health problems. To help understand better, we got a few health experts on board to highlight some common kidney disorders, their causes, symptoms and available treatment options.

Common kidney disorders: Causes, symptoms and treatment options (Shutterstock)
Common kidney disorders: Causes, symptoms and treatment options (Shutterstock)

Common kidney disorders

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Prashant Jain, Senior Consultant and Head of Department - General Urology and Andrology at Indian Spinal Injuries Centre in New Delhi, echoed that kidneys are essential organs that filter out waste and extra fluids from the body and the common kidney disorders that people face nowadays are

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1) Kidney Stones that form when there is too much buildup of certain substances in the body, leading to the formation of hard deposits in the kidneys.

2) Chronic Kidney Disease that occurs when the kidneys are damaged and lose their ability to function properly over time.

3) Urinary Tract Infections that occur in the urinary tract, which can include the kidneys, bladder, and urethra.

4) Glomerulonephritis, in which the tiny filters in the kidneys become inflamed and damaged, leading to decreased kidney function.


According to Dr Prashant Jain, “The causes of kidney disorders include poor diet, dehydration, genetics, and medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. To take care of oneself in such situations, it is important to maintain a healthy diet, stay hydrated, exercise regularly, and avoid smoking and alcohol. It is also essential to manage any underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, that may contribute to kidney problems.”


Common kidney diseases can present with a variety of symptoms and the specific symptoms can vary depending on the type and severity of the disease. Dr Prashant Jain revealed some common symptoms associated with kidney disease -

  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD):

i. Fatigue and weakness

ii. Swelling (edema) in the hands, feet, or ankles

iii. Frequent urination, especially at night (nocturia)

iv. Blood in urine (hematuria)

v. Foamy or bubbly urine

vi. Persistent itching

vii. High blood pressure (hypertension)

viii. Loss of appetite and unintended weight loss

  • Kidney Stones:

a) Severe pain in the back or side (flank pain)

b) Pain radiating to the lower abdomen and groin

c) Blood in urine (hematuria)

d) Cloudy or foul-smelling urine

e) Frequent urination

f) Urgency to urinate

g) Inability to find a comfortable position due to pain

h) Nausea and vomiting

i) Fever and chills (if an infection is present)

  • Glomerulonephritis:

1. Blood in urine (hematuria)

2. Foamy urine (excessive protein)

3. Swelling (edema) in the face, hands, feet, or abdomen

4. High blood pressure (hypertension)

5. Reduced urine output

6. Fatigue and weakness

7. Shortness of breath

8. Pallor (pale skin)

9. Joint pain and swelling (in some autoimmune-related cases)

10. Symptoms of underlying infections or autoimmune disorders (if associated with glomerulonephritis)


Bringing his expertise to the same, Dr Sujit Chatterjee, CEO at Dr LH Hiranandani Hospital, provided an overview of treatment options available for common kidney disorders, focusing on chronic kidney disease (CKD), kidney stone and glomerulonephritis. He elaborated -

  • Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

i. Medications: Medications are prescribed to control high blood pressure, manage underlying conditions (such as diabetes), reduce proteinuria (excessive protein in urine), and address specific symptoms. Examples include angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), diuretics, and erythropoietin-stimulating agents (ESAs) to manage anemia.

ii. Diet and lifestyle modifications: A kidney-friendly diet, low in sodium, protein, and phosphorus, is recommended. Limiting fluid intake may be necessary in advanced stages of CKD. Regular exercise, weight management, smoking cessation, and avoiding excessive alcohol intake contribute to overall kidney health.

iii. Dialysis: Dialysis is a life-saving treatment for individuals with end-stage kidney disease. It involves removing waste products and excess fluid from the blood through either hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis. Dialysis schedules and modalities are tailored to individual needs.

iv. Kidney Transplantation: A kidney transplant is considered the best long-term treatment option for end-stage kidney disease. It involves surgically replacing a failed kidney with a healthy kidney from a living or deceased donor. Transplant recipients require lifelong immunosuppressive medications to prevent organ rejection.

  • Kidney Stones

a) Conservative Management: Small kidney stones often pass spontaneously with increased fluid intake and pain management. Over-the-counter pain relievers may be used to alleviate discomfort during passage.

b) Medical Procedures: Larger stones may require intervention to facilitate their removal. Common procedures include extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL), which uses sound waves to break up stones, ureteroscopy, where a thin tube is inserted to remove or break up stones, and percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL), a minimally invasive surgery to remove larger stones.

  • Glomerulonephritis

1. Medications: Treatment focuses on addressing the underlying cause and managing symptoms. Medications may include corticosteroids, immunosuppressive drugs, and medications to control blood pressure and reduce proteinuria.

2. Diet Modifications: Limiting sodium and protein intake may be recommended to reduce fluid retention and manage kidney function.

3. Management of Underlying Conditions: Treating infections, autoimmune disorders, or other systemic diseases associated with glomerulonephritis is vital in managing the condition”.

He concluded, “The treatment options for common kidney disorders are multifaceted, aiming to slow disease progression, manage symptoms, and preserve kidney function. Treatment plans are individualised based on the specific disorder, stage and severity of the condition. Consulting with healthcare professionals, including nephrologists, urologists and primary care physicians, is essential for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. With proper management, individuals with kidney disorders can lead fulfilling lives and minimize complications associated with these conditions.”

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