Most practitioners know that you can use a blood
test to screen for renal or kidney disease. What is less well known
is that you can also screen for kidney dysfunction long before the
kidneys actually show signs of significant damage or tissue change.
Renal insufficiency or decreased renal function occurs long before
one sees overt renal disease. The kidneys help to filter waste and
toxins, but this is not their only function. They regulate fluid
and mineral balance, help regulate blood pressure, secrete hormones
(erythropoietin, rennin, angiotensin, prostaglandins), and regulate
acid-base balance amongst other functions. There are many factors
that contribute to renal insufficiency:
- Heavy metal
toxicity has a detrimental effect on kidney function. Cadmium
and mercury, which slowly destroys the glomeruli, are especially
that cause an increased stress on the kidneys include: high protein
intake, processed foods, sugar, caffeine, alcohol etc.
- Many over
the counter and prescription drugs cause damage to the kidney.
can cause a significant stress on the kidneys.
liver function, especially its detoxification function can lead
to increased kidney stress. The kidney will often take on many
of the detoxification tasks of the liver when the liver becomes
- It is very
common to have sub-acute, long-term low-grade and chronic idiopathic
infections that will decrease kidney function over time.
will use the skin as a secondary route of detoxification and as
such skin problems that have no known cause are often associated
with renal dysfunction. Skin problems can also be an indication
that the kidney is no longer processing metabolic waste correctly.
The kidney plays an important role in blood pressure control via
the rennin-angiotensin system. Always rule out renal dysfunction
with hypertension of unknown etiology. This is a very common reason
for a mild to moderate elevated blood pressure, yet many patients
are immediately put on medications to “normalize” blood
pressure. These medications can further worsen an over-looked underlying
© 2004 Dicken Weatherby, ND