Remember the question that was asked: What if there is ongoing scar formation going on in your kidneys that you can't see or feel? In particular, scar formation is the end result of a cytokine called transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta. TGF-beta is associated with scar-like tissue formation inside the body called fibrosis (fy-bro-siss). Fibrosis, like scars, is permanent and irreversible. TGF-beta is implicated in the worsening of diabetes-related kidney disease, other kidney conditions, and chronic kidney disease itself, all of which are states of chronic inflammation. There is ongoing research regarding this particular cytokine.
|Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease Symptoms|
OTHER CAUSES OF INFLAMMATION THAT CAN AFFECT THE KIDNEYS
In addition to certain medical conditions, there are other circumstances that can activate a similar inflammatory response in the kidneys. These include occupational and environmental exposures, as well as dietary factors. Laboratory research suggests that toxic exposures could perhaps be inherited and passed on from one generation to the next.
Environmental and Occupational Exposures
From the air we breathe to the water we drink, our bodies are exposed to multiple toxins on a daily basis that can affect our kidney health. Additionally, certain occupational exposures to heavy metals like cadmium, lead, mercury, uranium, and others, as well as hydrocarbons related to certain types of industrial manufacturing, can cause kidney disease. Heavy metal toxicity of the kidneys causes continuous oxidative stress, subsequent inflammation, and worsening of kidney function over time.
There is strong evidence showing that the cause of some kidney diseases, specifically nephritis and the nephrotic syndrome, may result from an inflammatory reaction due to allergens in the processed foods that we eat. In addition, the low antioxidant value of the food we consume may also have a contributory effect.
Prior Toxin Exposures
An interesting study performed by Dr. Michael Skinner and his research group at Washington State University examined the question: Could a medical condition that a person has now be a consequence of a past generation toxin exposure during pregnancy? It is a known fact that many drugs and toxins can affect the kidney function of a developing fetus early in a pregnancy.
In this animal-based study, Dr. Skinner and his group found that conditions such as kidney disease and disorders of the immune systems were the effects of a toxin that continued through four consecutive generations. Essentially, it suggests that a toxin exposure from past generations could play a role in developing kidney disease, as well as many other diseases, in future generations. This was only a single study, but it does raise some important questions that require further study.
THE EFFECTS OF INFLAMMATION ON THE BODY
Up until this point, we have been focusing specifically on inflammation as it affects the kidneys. It is important to remember that because the body functions as an interconnected unit, the inflammation affects the body as a whole. Thus, the risk of atherosclerosis (ath-iro-sklair-osis) and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is dramatically increased in CKD.
In CKD, inflammation can become a vicious, never-ending cycle. There is evidence to suggest that regardless of the cause of kidney disease, CKD is itself a potent inflammatory condition. The inflammation from CKD has a toxic and life-altering effect on the heart; it increases the risk of heart disease and can shorten one's lifespan. The damaging effects of inflammation on the heart and kidneys have been described in a condition called the cardio-renal syndrome.
In this syndrome, problems with the heart can cause a worsening of kidney function. The reverse of this is also true - worsening kidney function has been implicated in heart problems, including coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure (CHF). In many instances, it is difficult to determine which organ is the primary culprit; most likely a sizable inflammatory response causes failure in both organs. Significant heart and kidney problems, characterized by congestive heart failure, hypertension, and worsening kidney function, make this syndrome very difficult to treat. To find out more, you can check out Stage 3 Chronic Kidney Disease Symptoms.