Understanding the Kidneys

So I thought I should share with you a bit of biology on the kidney to explain my situation.

The kidneys are a pair of organs located in the back of the abdomen. Each kidney is about 4 or 5 inches long — about the size of a fist.

The kidneys’ function are to filter the blood. All the blood in our bodies passes through the kidneys several times a day. The kidneys remove wastes, control the body’s fluid balance, and regulate the balance of electrolytes. As the kidneys filter blood, they create urine, which collects in the kidneys’ pelvis — funnel-shaped structures that drain down tubes called ureters to the bladder.

Each kidney contains around a million units called nephrons, each of which is a microscopic filter for blood. It’s possible to lose as much as 90% of kidney function without experiencing any symptoms or problems.

So how does my story fit in?

When I was about two I had tonsillitis and apparently in the 80’s one wasn’t able to have their tonsils out until they were three. So I was on antibiotics over and over again. I eventually had them removed and never suffered again. They then picked up protein and blood in my urine, did a few internal tests and discovered I had Glomerulonephritis, caused from the tonsillitis. It was obviously not severe and I was just advised to drink lots of water and never to do long distance running but was able to live a very normal active childhood.

What is glomerulonephritis?

Glomerulonephritis is a type of kidney disease that involves the glomeruli. The glomeruli are very small, important structures in the kidneys that supply blood flow to the small units in the kidneys that filter urine, called the nephrons. During glomerulonephritis, the glomeruli become inflamed and impair the kidney’s ability to filter urine. An overactive immune system may attack the kidney, causing inflammation and some damage. Blood in the urine and kidney failure are common symptoms of glomerulonephritis.

What causes glomerulonephritis?

  • In children, a common cause of glomerulonephritis is from a streptococcal infection, such as strep throat or upper respiratory infection
  • Systemic immune disease such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE, or lupus)
  • Glomerulonephritis can also result from a gene on the X chromosome passed on from carrier mothers who have no features, or minimal features of the problem

So, I had tonsillitis causing glomerulonephritis. We believe my nephrons were damaged while I was on antibiotics as a child which caused the auto-immunity.

What is auto-immune?

Auto-immune diseases arise from an overactive immune response of the body against substances and tissues normally present in the body. In other words, the body actually attacks its own cells.

Apparently in the 80’s there were a lot of children with glomerulonephritis and no one knows if they ever suffered more kidney problems ever again, as, like me, when they were young were diagnosed with glomerulonephritis and then never suffered from kidney problems again as youngsters. Are they now discovering they have problems now as they enter their thirties?

That is why I am now focusing on the following:

  • Strengthening the healthy, strong nephrons that are still present
  • Helping the body realize it is not auto-immune (helps to stop the body’s antibodies from attacking my kidneys)

And by changing my diet and lifestyle, taking supplements and homeopathic remedies and living a happy positive life, I am hoping to achieve a very positive result…which so far seems to be happening.


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