Kidney problems arise from several causes, including kidney disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, infections and overuse of certain medications and illegal drugs, as stated by the National Kidney Foundation. Kidney problems stem from many sources, and range in severity from mild, short-term problems to severe, life-threatening issues. Some causes of kidney problems stem from genetic conditions or inherited illnesses, while others derive from lifestyle choices.
Kidneys, despite having a relatively small size, contribute a large role to maintaining health and homeostasis. Kidneys help eliminate waste products from the body, keeping blood and other systems functioning and healthy. When they cannot adequately remove toxins and harmful products, kidneys pose significant risks. The National Kidney Foundation reports that kidney problems stem from two primary causes in the United States: type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Treatment of these underlying conditions may reduce the severity of consequent kidney damage. Left untreated, however, kidney failure may result.
Following these diseases, kidney stones and inherited conditions, such as polycystic kidney disease, rank among the leading causes of kidney problems. End stage kidney disease, the most serious type of kidney problem, derives from glomerulonephritis. Doctors distinguish end stage kidney disease as loss of at least 90 percent of kidney function. Some kidney problems have a better prognosis than others; administering certain medications or making lifestyle changes may improve and reverse symptoms.