Regular urine tests help with early detection

Regular urine tests help with early detection

They also have an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure are among the most common causes of kidney failure. Those who exercise enough, eat healthily and have high blood pressure treated can prevent their condition from worsening.

This is not possible with acute kidney failure: it often ends fatally, as the causes usually cannot be treated. These include a sudden worsening of chronic kidney disease or an acute incident such as an accident or surgery. Symptoms that indicate kidney failure include problems urinating and water retention in the legs.

Abnormal urine indicates kidney inflammation

Kidney failure has another cause: kidney inflammation. As a result of a bacterial infection, kidney corpuscles are gradually destroyed, which impairs the organ’s filter function. The dangerous thing: First of all, the still healthy kidney corpuscles take on the task of filtering out harmful substances. It can therefore take a long time for the disease to manifest itself through symptoms. Typical symptoms are, for example, changes in the urine: If it is reddish in color, bloody or foamy, there may be an illness. Frequent urination or difficulty urinating at all are also signs of kidney infection. Many patients also complain of headaches and are often tired.

Regular urine tests help with early detection

Note: Kidney failure and kidney inflammation are just two types of kidney disease. Anyone who suspects that something is wrong with their kidney should see a doctor. Experts recommend checking your blood pressure and blood sugar every two years from the age of 36. It is also important to have your doctor do regular blood and urine tests. This is the only way to identify and treat kidney damage early. The health insurance pays the costs for the laboratory tests. Because from the age of 35 they are part of the preventive medical check-up.

Day after day, the kidneys filter pollutants from our blood, regulate the water and salt balance in our body and produce a number of important hormones. If the kidneys fail, symptoms of intoxication occur within a very short time. The tricky thing is that kidney diseases are not always recognized in time. Because at the beginning there are usually no symptoms. How you can recognize illnesses early and which warning signs you should take seriously.

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Urine test detects kidney disorders

The best way to determine whether the kidneys are malfunctioning is to do a urine test. The German Society for Nephrology (DGfN) recommends that such a test be carried out by a doctor once a year. If the test result is abnormal, further examinations must be carried out. Usually the blood is then examined for further warning signs. Kidney function values ​​include, for example, the creatinine and urea levels in the blood.

The higher the creatinine and / or urea level in the blood, the weaker the filter function of the kidneys, explains the DGfN. The normal creatinine value is 0.8 – 1.2 mg / dl (milligrams per deciliter of blood), the normal urea concentration in the blood is 20 and 45 mg / dl.

Hypertension can be tricky – high blood pressure is the most common disease

Hypertension can be tricky
High blood pressure is the most common disease

20 million German citizens over 35 are affected. to the video

Usually no symptoms in the initial stage

With chronic diseases of the kidneys, these gradually lose their function. That is the reason why those affected usually do not feel any symptoms at the beginning. This is critical, because especially in the early stages, the disease can often be slowed down or stopped. The patient is then often spared dialysis treatment.

High blood pressure and water retention are warning signs

But most kidney patients only go to the doctor when they have symptoms, i.e. the disease is already at an advanced stage. High blood pressure, water retention in the legs and lungs, changes in bone density, anemia and muscle weakness are among the more serious symptoms, according to the DGfN.

If more than 50 percent of the kidney tissue is irreparably damaged, the kidneys can no longer fully perform their tasks. Then drugs and other treatments come into play. Since the kidney disease can progress further, drugs and dialysis completely replace kidney function in many cases, according to the DGfN.

In 2009 there are new preventive examinations. (Photo: archive) Serious illnesses can affect anyone from one day to the next. In order for these to be recognized as early as possible, the statutory health insurance companies cover the costs for various preventive examinations. This includes examinations for the early detection of cardiovascular diseases, cancer or diabetes. Because the earlier a disease is diagnosed and treated, the better the chances of recovery. New diagnostic methods are even improving the prevention options for heart disease and breast cancer, among other things.

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New blood test diagnoses breast cancer

To detect breast cancer at an early stage, many women regularly scan their breasts themselves for tumors. The statutory health insurances from the age of 30 cover the costs of a preventive examination by a gynecologist. An effective addition to these methods is a new blood test. With the “BCtect (TM)”, breast cancer tumors can be detected very early and precisely in the blood. The new procedure is especially for women going through menopause and for women with thicker breast tissue. The test will likely be offered from the end of 2009.

A bio-chip detects colon cancer in its early stages

In the early detection of colon cancer, doctors can use a newly developed bio-chip that measures twelve important tumor markers in the blood. In contrast to the currently usual preventive examinations using colonoscopy and stool samples, the chip method is less complex. Because with the new screening process, no device has to be inserted into the body. Another advantage: the cancer is detected at a very early stage. So far, despite all precautionary measures, colon cancer has only been discovered at an advanced stage in 70 percent of those affected.

The distribution of water in the cells indicates uterine cancer

In order to detect cervical cancer as early as possible, women should regularly go to preventive care. The costs for the examination, including the so-called Pap test, are covered by statutory health insurances from the age of 20. The new diagnostic method measures the different water distribution in healthy and diseased cells in the smear. This means that uterine cancer can be diagnosed in its early stages.

Magnet diagnosis replaces catheter checks

In order to rule out circulatory disorders in the heart, around 800,000 Germans undergo a cardiac catheter examination every year. The new “Magnetfield Imaging System” (MFI) in 2009 will make 70 percent of this superfluous. The new method records the magnetic fields of the heart function, which are generated by cell activity. The advantage of the magnet diagnosis: It is radiation-free and shows cell activities graphically. In addition, the patient is not touched during the examination, so the treatment is painless.

What does the health insurance company pay?

The Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) decides which examinations are to be included in the service catalog of all health insurers. So far, the G-BA has not yet assessed the new preventive examinations, so they are not yet contractual benefits of the statutory health insurance companies. Before deciding on a new preventive method, you should find out about costs from your health insurance company. It is also advisable to ask the doctor whether the desired preventive care is offered as an individual health service (IGeL).

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The kidneys filter our blood. If they fail, toxins and degradation products remain in our metabolism and slowly poison the body. The tricky thing is that kidney damage usually doesn’t hurt at the beginning. They are therefore often only recognized late. Our graphic explains what the kidneys do and what happens when they no longer function properly.

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1,800 liters a day

The kidneys filter around 1,800 liters of blood every day. If the function is disturbed, those affected have to go on dialysis to have their blood cleansed. More than 8,000 people in Germany are waiting for a donor kidney. But even if a kidney transplant has been carried out successfully, there is still a risk that the body will reject the transplanted kidney. Medicines that suppress the immune system are supposed to prevent this.

Relatives can donate

With a kidney transplant, those affected can lead an almost normal life as they do not have to undergo blood washing for four hours several times a week. According to the German Society for Nephrology (DGfN), more and more patients are using the option of living donation if they have a close relative or partner who is willing to donate.

Thorough health tests are important

Before a transplant, the donor and recipient undergo several health tests to rule out possible risks and increase the chance of a successful transplant. According to the DGFN, transplants are successfully carried out today – despite immunological intolerances and beyond the limits of incompatible blood groups. The number of possible donor-recipient constellations is expanded considerably.

Man can live with one kidney

The DGFN classifies the risk of the procedure as low for donors and recipients. The donor’s health is not impaired in the long term, since everyone can get along well with just one kidney. In advance, however, donors and recipients are subjected to several health tests in order to exclude possible risks in advance and to increase the chance of a successful transplant.

Too much iced tea can promote the formation of kidney stones. Because like all black and green teas, the summer drink contains oxalic acid (oxalate), explains Wolfgang Wesiack, President of the Professional Association of German Internists (BDI). In large quantities, oxalic acid promotes certain types of kidney stones.

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Better water than iced tea

Iced tea in particular is drunk in larger quantities than hot tea. Anyone who tends to form painful deposits should therefore avoid iced tea and preferably drink water, for example mixed with lemon juice. Because citric acid prevents kidney stones from growing, explains Wesiack.

Avoid foods with oxalic acid

According to Wesiack, those who avoid foods with oxalic acid reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. These foods include spinach, chocolate, rhubarb, and nuts, for example. Good alternatives are products rich in calcium such as milk, curd cheese, yogurt, cheese, and potatoes. Calcium reduces the absorption of oxalate in the intestine. The internist also advises avoiding a lot of table salt and fat, as being overweight can also be a reason for kidney stones. Experts also recommend a healthy diet with lots of whole grain products, fruit and vegetables, and little meat.

Insufficient fluid is the most common cause

The causes of kidney stone formation are diverse. Hereditary factors and metabolic disorders often play a role. But urinary tract infections and urinary flow disorders also promote the formation of stones. Other risk factors are a lack of exercise and a high-fat diet. People who have had kidney colic before are particularly at risk of recurring urinary stones. About half of them get sick again. Overweight people also have an increased risk of developing kidney stones. However, according to Wesiack, the most common cause of formation is insufficient fluid intake. Drinking enough water can therefore at least make stone formation more difficult. Men over 40 years of age are said to have a four times higher risk than women. With these, the risk increases after menopause due to the low estrogen level.

According to the Information Center for Prevention and Early Detection (IPF), around five million people in Germany suffer from kidney dysfunction – many without knowing it. Because a diseased kidney initially suffers without symptoms. It becomes life-threatening when the kidneys only perform 15 percent of their work. Dialysis and kidney transplants are often the last resort. How to recognize kidney disease and who is at risk.

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Renal failure develops slowly

While kidney stones and inflammation of the renal pelvis cause severe, acute pain, chronic kidney diseases – for example circulatory disorders of the kidneys – are initially not noticed. But it is precisely this damage that is tricky: "Chronic kidney failure develops slowly and insidiously, you do not notice it"says Dr. Michael Daschner, nephrologist and chairman of the Association of German Kidney Centers. The performance of the kidney decreases continuously without showing any clear symptoms. "Symptoms such as loss of appetite and nausea only appear shortly before the end"says the kidney specialist. "But then the kidneys often only have 20 percent of their function – it doesn’t take long before dialysis"according to the expert.