While the majority of folks are concerned about their heart, lungs and overall body health, few concern themselves with bladder and urinary tract health until such time as something goes wrong. The kidneys and bladder are simply something many of us pay little attention to even though both organs along with the components which connect them play an important role in not only eliminating urine but also in our general health and well-being.
Function of the Kidneys in the Urinary System
The basic function of the kidneys is to filter our blood by removing waste elements from cellular activity as well as to produce urine, which is stored in the bladder. In addition, they perform other vital functions such as the release of a compound known as renin, which helps to regulate blood pressure and the balancing of electrolytes, like sodium and potassium, which have wide-ranging functions within the body.
The kidneys also determine overall fluid levels which have an effect on blood pressure and much more. Nevertheless, few folks give much thought to any of that until something goes wrong.
Types of Urinary Tract Problems
Things that might go wrong range between lower and upper urinary tract infections within the kidneys, ureters, bladder, or urethra through to kidney stones and much more. A range of factors, such as E. coli bacteria or genetics, which influence the body’s immune system, could trigger these types of infections. Kidney stones may also be created by an inherited abnormality or just by insufficient fluid consumption or excessive protein intake.
The diagnosis of these complaints may be as straightforward as a urinalysis carried out on a urine sample or involve advanced technology such as a multi-million dollar MRI machine. Treatment options may range from not doing anything except drinking some extra water through to a program of the most advanced medications available.
The specific nature of the problem will dictate the type of treatment required. For simple cystitis or nephritis, well-known antibiotics such as amoxicillin will often have the desired effect. Oftentimes treatment of the underlying condition, for example diabetes, can clear up any associated kidney or bladder issues. On the other hand, when dealing with more serious conditions, dialysis may be required.
In the most severe cases, a kidney transplant is necessary. As with any major operation, there are potential risks as well as benefits. However, thanks to the latest options, like advanced medications, they are much lower than in the past. More recent developments, such as kidney-like devices worn on the outside of the body display promise of greatly reducing or eliminating the necessity for dialysis or transplant altogether.
When urinary incontinence occurs, it can be treated with everything ranging from low risk medications through to exercises to improve muscle control. There are various types and the precise form will typically influence which approach is needed.
Bladder and Urinary Tract Health Tips
Prevention is better than cure and there are several ways of doing that for the whole urinary system. Renal system health can be promoted by a healthy diet, one that balances salts and regulates protein consumption, among other things. Optimizing bladder health to lower the chance of cancer, interstitial cystitis, along with other potential issues is equally important. Good lifestyle choices, such as moderate alcohol consumption and coffee intake, which does offer benefits, helps make this easy.
The answer to any prevention or treatment approach is to be conscious of the important function that both the kidneys and bladder play in overall maintenance of the body's health and well-being. A healthy body begins with good education.