The kidneys are very small organs – they are no more than 12 centimeters in size and weigh just over 100 grams – but they are also very important because they have functions, first and foremost that of producing urine, which are fundamental for our body.
“They are very sensitive – underlines Dr. Giulio Mingardi, head of the Operating Unit of Nephrology and Dialysis of Humanitas Gavazzeni Bergamo – and often are involved in pathological situations that arise from other parts of the body and that do not always manifest themselves clearly.
The need to frequently urinate at night
To understand if a disease is also affecting the kidneys, it is necessary not to underestimate some signals and warning signs triggered by our organism. One of these is urinating at night, as the specialist explains: “The need to urinate often at night may be a sign of the presence of a kidney disease. If it were a urological problem, in fact, the need would be there during the day. If it only occurs at night, I recommend that you have blood and urine tests and a specialist examination to observe and investigate the kidneys.
The kidneys may start to function poorly due to diseases that affect them directly, such as primary kidney disease or polycystic kidney disease or gromerulonephritis. However, they can also be affected due to secondary causes, such as diabetes or hypertension. “These are the main risk factors for kidney health, in addition to obesity,” says Dr. Mingardi. Therefore, prevention of kidney disease must start with the observation of suitable lifestyles. It is important to pay attention to eating habits, not to exceed with salt consumption, exercise, not smoke to avoid damage to the vessels in general and to those of the kidneys in particular. In addition to urine testing, it is essential to undergo the creatinine level, which increases indicating reduced renal function.
The importance of early diagnosis
The prevention of kidney disease, therefore, moves from attention to lifestyle. But also by early diagnosis, which must focus on those considered at risk. “People of a certain age and those who are familiar with kidney disease are at risk. The diagnostic path to be carried out varies from subject to subject, depending on age, the fact that there is the presence of other diseases, that have already been performed tests that would be useless to repeat. The most specific investigation, to be carried out whenever there is suspicion of specific kidney diseases, is the kidney biopsy, an invasive but painless examination in which small fragments of kidney tissue are taken and examined under a microscope and are able to clearly reveal which disease has struck the kidneys.