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What causes renal disease?

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Quick Answer

Renal or kidney disease is caused by hypertension, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, polycystic kidney disease, and inflammation of the kidney's tubules and filtering mechanisms, or glomeruli, says Mayo Clinic. It can also be caused by anything that obstructs the urinary tract or a condition that causes urine to backwash into the kidneys. Pyelonephritis, or kidney infections that happen again and again, is also a cause of renal disease.

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The complications of untreated kidney disease are many and dangerous, according to Mayo Clinic. They can result in complete kidney failure. In that case, the patient either has to go on dialysis to remove the wastes from his blood or undergo a kidney transplant.

Renal disease can lead to a buildup of fluid in the body, according to Mayo Clinic. This manifests as edema in the legs and arms or fluid in the lungs. Pericarditis, an inflammation of the membrane that holds the heart, is also a complication of kidney disease. Renal disease also causes anemia, weakened bones that are subject to fracturing and a compromised immune system.

Renal disease can also lead to high blood pressure and hyperkalemia, which is a spike in potassium levels. Potassium is an electrolyte that must be kept in balance for good heart health, and too much impairs cardiac functioning, says WebMD.

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