Congenital Kidney Disorders are caused by genetic mutations in a person’s DNA. This can be passed down from parent to child or it can occur spontaneously. These type of genetic mutations can be life-threatening because of the damage they inflict on kidneys.
We at Grassroots Health are passionate about raising awareness of chronic diseases that affect Americans. That being said, we will dedicate weekly material over the next month for highlighting many types of common kidney diseases and their health risks. Today we continue our series by discussing a common cause of kidney disease: Congenital Kidney Disorders.
In order to get a better understanding of how this chronic disease affects the kidneys, let us recap: The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs who find their home in the lower back just below the ribcage. These organs are responsible for filtering close to “200 quarts of blood each day, generating about 2 quarts of excess fluid, salts, and waste products that are excreted as urine.” (1) Figuratively speaking, the kidneys resemble a trash-removal service for the body. In a scenario where their function shuts down or even slows, waste begins to build up. If this occurs and persists, it has the potential of becoming life-threatening.
Congenital Kidney Disorders
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article: congenital kidney disorders are genetic disorders that can be passed from parent to child, or they can spontaneously develop in a person through gene mutation. The National Institute of Health provides the following explanation:
“Each cell contains thousands of genes that provide the instructions for making proteins for growth and repair of the body. If a gene has a mutation, the protein made by that gene may not function properly, which sometimes creates a genetic disorder. Not all gene mutations cause a disorder. People inherit two copies of most genes; one copy from each parent. A genetic disorder occurs when one or both parents pass a mutated gene to a child at conception. A genetic disorder can also occur through a spontaneous gene mutation, meaning neither parent carries a copy of the mutated gene. Once a spontaneous gene mutation has occurred, a person can pass it to his or her children.” (2)
The most commonly diagnosed congenital kidney disorder is Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD.) We will discuss this form of kidney disease in depth next Wednesday.
The Inevitable Health Risks
The most threatening health risk with congenital kidney disorders is kidney failure. “If your kidneys fail, you need treatment to replace the work they normally do. The treatment options are dialysis or a kidney transplant. Each treatment has benefits and drawbacks. No matter which treatment you choose, you'll need to make some changes in your life, including how you eat and plan your activities. But with the help of healthcare providers, family, and friends, most people with kidney failure can lead full and active lives.” (3)
Affordable Healthcare Solutions
Your medical provider can test for kidney disease by measuring kidney function with certain blood tests and urine tests. If you have been diagnosed with any form of kidney disease we recommend that you follow up with your physician as often as they request so that they can monitor your conditions and work to prevent a life-threatening situation from occurring. If you are uninsured or have health insurance that you cannot afford, there are still some affordable healthcare options available.
Grassroots Labs is a company that we partner with in the mission of creating healthcare options that are affordable, convenient and efficient for everyone. On their website GrassrootsLabs.io, they have created an online laboratory test store where individuals can browse a large variety of lab tests that are significantly discounted from the traditional mark-up rates that you find at hospitals and doctors offices. Included in their store is an affordable lab test panel for kidney function. Their online store also features affordable lab tests used for diagnosing and managing other chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, and liver disease. These are just a few examples of the many tests they provide for managing chronic diseases and for meeting a wide variety of healthcare needs. For a full biography of Grassroots Labs click here.
We cannot stress enough the importance of regularly monitoring overall health; which is why we strive to make this possible by finding innovative solutions to healthcare, such as telemedicine, that make it more affordable for people to access. In addition, by partnering with like-minded companies such as Grassroots Labs we are able to bridge the gaps between healthcare services by making them valuable to everyone. Stay tuned, next week we will continue in this series on kidney disease by discussing Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD.)