The kidneys may fail from reduced
blood supply, damaged blood vessels or filtering units (nephrons), or a blocked urinary
tract. Illnesses that affect the entire body, such as diabetes or high blood pressure,
the most common cause of kidney damage. Illnesses that harm the kidneys directly such
(glomerulonephritis and polycystic disease) may also cause filtering problems. Kidney
damage can be temporary or permanent, depending on what caused it.
Problems with blood vessels
An illness can damage blood vessels inside the kidneys. As a result, the nephrons
get less blood, and pressure inside the kidneys can't be controlled.
Problems with nephrons
Reduced blood supply or the wrong pressure can harm the nephrons. This makes them
less able to remove wastes from the blood. As a result, the kidneys can’t maintain
the proper balance of fluid and chemicals in the body. Waste products may be returned
to the blood, or vital chemicals and proteins may be lost in the urine.
Problems in the urinary tract
A problem with the structure of the urinary tract may be present from birth. The urinary
tract can become blocked any place between the kidney and the urethra (the tube through
which urine leaves the body). There are many reasons for such a blockage including
kidney stones, scar tissue from previous infections, or an enlarged prostate gland.
Abnormal function of the urinary tract can also lead to damage to the kidney. Examples
include backflow of urine from the ureter to the kidney, or a damaged bladder muscle
leading to holding urine. If waste can’t leave the body, your health is at risk.