Kidney Problems in the Elderly


Kidney Problems

With age, there are certain changes that occur in the kidneys like loss of elasticity in the bladder walls and reduction in the number of nephrons. Generally the kidney functions normally, though much slowly, in the elderly. But medications, illness and some other conditions may put pressure on an aging kidney. Around 11 % of the “65+ adult” population, in the US, suffer from renal diseases. You may be at the risk of developing kidney problems if you smoke, are obese or have diabetes or have a family history of kidney diseases.

Types of kidney problems

Certain common problems of the kidney are:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Bladder infections
  • Urinary retention
  • Urinary incontinence

Some cancers like that of the prostrate gland or bladder also causes kidney problems.

In extreme cases there may be chronic or acute kidney failure.

Symptoms of kidney diseases

Some of the early signs of kidney problems are general in nature and include:

  • Frequent urinating
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain in the kidney region
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of sleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Bad breath
  • Itching
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Breathing problems
  • Loss of concentration

Treatment of kidney problems

The main treatment of kidney problems involves keeping your kidneys healthy by controlling blood cholesterol and blood pressure. Diet and medications help in treating renal diseases and are effective in controlling kidney infections. Drinking lots of water is also essential. It is also important to keep conditions like diabetes and obesity that lead to kidney problems, under control.