Resources and Education

What are the kidneys and what do they do?

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located in the abdomen just below the rib cage. When blood flows through the kidneys, waste products and extra water are removed from the blood and sent to the bladder as urine. The kidneys regulate blood pressure and the fluid, electrolyte and acid base balance of the body. Kidneys make certain hormones that promote bone health and produce red blood cells.

What are the causes of kidney problems /disease in children?

Kidney problems can result from abnormalities in the formation of the kidneys before birth or from an acquired disease or injury. The kidney disease or injury may occur from infectious organisms, immunological causes, impaired blood circulation or toxic effect of chemicals or drugs. The kidney disease/ injury may develop quickly over hours or days or may develop over weeks or months. Common kidney problems in children include nephritis related to streptococcal infection of the throat, IgA nephropathy, hydronephrosis (extra urine in the plumbing system of the kidneys from slow drainage or blockage), backing up of the urine from the bladder towards the kidneys (veisco- ureteral reflux) and formation of kidney stones from excess of calcium and / or low amount of the mineral citrate in the urine. Decreased kidney function also arises from low counts of functioning units in the kidneys.

What is Nephrotic Syndrome?

Nephrotic Syndrome is a constellation of abnormalities resulting from leakage of large amount of protein from the blood into the urine from damage to the filtering units in the kidney called glomeruli. As a result, not enough protein is left in the blood and patients have a tendency to develop swelling of the body from water and salt retention. Nephrotic syndrome can be caused from many kidney diseases that damage the kidney’s blood filters. Some respond to treatment with steroid drugs while others require treatment with other agents.

What is Polycystic Kidney Disease?

Polycystic kidney disease is a disorder characterized by the growth of numerous fluid filled cysts in the kidneys which can slowly replace much of the mass of the kidneys, reducing kidney function and sometimes causing enough kidney failure to require kidney replacement therapy with dialysis or kidney transplant.

What is a urinary tract infection (UTI)?

A UTI is a bacterial infection that affects any part of the urinary tract i.e. kidneys, ureter, bladder and urethra. Some signs and symptoms of a UTI can include a frequent feeling to urinate, pain during urination, and cloudy urine.