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The atrophic kidney is a disease that is characterized by contraction in the size of one or both kidneys due to an inadequate blood supply to the kidneys and/or loss of nephrons. Thus, atrophic kidney is closely associated with impaired renal function, and the presence of atrophy may suggest that patients have developed renal failure or even kidney failure. Early detection and timely treatment to control or improve atrophic kidneys is very important in order to avoid further deterioration of kidney damage. Let’s see, then, in more detail the causes, symptoms, and treatments to follow.

atrophic kidney

The kidneys are bean-shaped organs that are found on both sides of the spine, below the ribs toward the center of the lower back. The main function of the kidneys is to filter the waste and toxins that are expelled with the urine. It helps to regulate the composition of blood and maintain the balance of electrolytes and fluids in the body. The nephrons are the basic functional units of the kidneys and each kidney contains approximately one million nephrons.

The normal size of the kidneys is 8.1-11cm in length, 5.5-7cm in width and 4-5cm in thickness. A normal or slightly decreased renal size indicates early for medium phage disease and a better prognosis for effective treatment. An obviously decreased renal size is associated with poor prognosis in patients. Generally, renal atrophy can be divided into two types, unilateral kidney atrophy and bilateral kidney atrophy.

Atrophic Kidney Symptoms

The symptoms, as noted, are similar to those found with a urinary tract infection. It can cause painful urination and a need for more frequent of doing so and, even, the presence of blood in the urine. This may be accompanied by pain in the kidneys and a feeling of pressure.

For a patient with atrophic kidney, first, it will be considered if a congenital disorder such as renal arterial narrowing or congenital renal dysplasia has caused the disease. A unilateral kidney atrophy is often detected when one searches for exams due to high blood pressure and waist pain. Except for the symptoms of the primary condition, patients do not present evident blood in the urine and proteinuria. However, the kidney condition can get deteriorated induced by more fatigue, infections, nephrotoxic drugs or other factors. If not treated properly, unilateral kidney atrophy may progress in bilateral renal atrophy.

Bilateral kidney atrophy is often caused by end-stage renal disease, or renal failure, and this can be caused by diabetic nephropathy, chronic glomerulonephritis, Alport syndrome, hypertensive kidney disease, kidney repulsion rejection, etc. In the stage of renal failure, the kidneys are so severely affected that a significant part of the functioning of the intrinsic renal cells are severely impaired, thus reducing the kidney size and posing clinical symptoms such as elevated creatinine, vomiting, nausea, decreased diuresis, etc.

Atrophic Kidney Causes

Renal diseases, obstruction of the urinary tract, acute pyelonephritis or any condition that impairs nephron function in a negative way could lead to atrophic kidney. Ischemia, which refers to the decreased availability of oxygen and nutrients due to inadequate blood flow to the kidneys, could also have an adverse effect on kidney function. Ischemia can occur due to atherosclerosis (narrowing of the renal arteries due to the accumulation of fatty deposits within the arterial walls) or the formation of renal cysts. Occlusion of the renal artery, which is an obstruction of the main arteries that supply blood to the kidneys, could also be caused by blood clots.

Renal atrophy may also involve thinning of the renal parenchyma, which is the functional tissue of the kidney. It can be caused due to obstruction of the urinary tract due to an increase in pressure on the tissues or compression of the renal veins and inside the arteries.

Obstructive uropathy is a condition in which interference with the normal flow of urine leads to back-up pressure on the kidneys, it can also cause damage to the nephrons.

There are other conditions to consider as polycystic kidney disease or kidney infection. Hence the importance of not underestimating the symptoms or discomfort in the kidney area, because it may be a warning signal.

Atrophic kidney Treatments

The patient will require a personalized treatment, depending on the cause and extent of progression of the disease. If the problem is due to an infection, the doctor will prescribe a drug treatment to refer more acute symptoms. But if there is a problem of severe renal impairment it may be necessary to dialysis. For the diagnosis and determine the extent of the disease will be necessary certain tests, such as ultrasound, CT or MRI.

Micro-Chinese Medicine as of now is the most commonly used medical method for patients with chronic kidney failure. It consists of several herbs that have been shown to have the function of expanding blood vessels, blocking inflammation, preventing coagulation and degradation of the extracellular matrix. With this treatment, not only atrophic kidney can be relieved, kidney function can be improved as well.