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There are a large number of kidney diseases which affect kidney function. Those of interest to psychologists include:
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Congenital hydronephrosis
- Renal dysplasia
- Congenital obstruction of urinary tract
- Horseshoe kidney
- Duplicated ureter
- Renal failure
- Acute renal failure
- Chronic renal failure
- Kidney stones are a relatively common and particularly painful disorder.
- Pyelonephritis is infection of the kidneys and is frequently caused by complication of a urinary tract infection.
- Azotemia is a toxic condition characterized by abnormal and dangerously high levels of urea, creatinine, various body waste compounds, and other nitrogen-rich compounds in the blood.
- Hydronephrosis is the enlargement of one or both of the kidneys caused by obstruction of the flow of urine.
- In nephrotic syndrome, the glomerulus has been damaged so that a large amount of protein in the blood enters the urine. Other frequent features of the nephrotic syndrome include swelling, low serum albumin, and high cholesterol.
- Kidney tumors
- Wilms tumor
- Renal cell carcinoma
- Diabetic nephropathy
- Lupus nephritis
- Minimal change disease
- Interstitial nephritis
Dialysis and kidney transplants
Generally, humans can live normally with just one kidney. Only when the amount of functioning kidney tissue is greatly diminished will renal failure develop. If renal function is impaired, various forms of medications are used, while others are contraindicated. Provided that treatment is begun early, it may be possible to reverse chronic kidney failure due to diabetes or high blood pressure. If creatinine clearance (a measure of renal function) has fallen very low ("end-stage renal failure"), or if the renal dysfunction leads to severe symptoms, dialysis is commenced. Dialysis is a medical procedure, performed in various different forms, where the blood is filtered outside of the body.
Kidney transplantation is the only cure for end stage renal failure; dialysis, is a supportive treatment; a form of "buying time" to bridge the inevitable wait for a suitable organ.