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Pediatric Nephrology

Resources and Education

What are the kidneys and what do they do?
The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs located near the middle of the back, just below the rib cage.  When blood flows through the kidneys, waste products and extra water are moved from the blood and sent to the bladder as urine.  The kidneys also regulate blood pressure, balance chemicals like sodium, protein and potassium, and make hormones to help bones grow and keep the blood healthy by making new red blood cells.

What are the causes of kidney failure in children?
Kidney failure can be acute or chronic.  Acute diseases will develop quickly and can be very serious.  Although an acute disease may have long-lasting consequences; it usually lasts for only a short time and then goes away once the underlying causes have been treated.  Chronic diseases do not go away and tend to get worse over time.

What is Nephrotic Syndrome?
Childhood nephrotic syndrome can occur at any age but is most common between the ages of 1 ½ and 5 years.  Nephrotic syndrome itself is not a disease, but can be the first sign of a disease that damages the kidney’s tiny blood filters, called glomeruli, where urine is made.  Healthy kidneys keep protein in the blood, which helps the blood soak up water from the tissues.  But kidneys with damaged filters may let protein leak into the urine.  As a result, not enough protein is left in the blood to soak up the water.  To diagnosis childhood nephrotic syndrome, the doctor may ask for a urine sample and check for protein.

What is Polycystic Kidney Disease?
Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a disorder characterized by the growth of numerous cysts in the kidneys.  The cysts are filled with fluid.  PKD cysts can slowly replace much of the mass of the kidneys, reducing kidney function and sometimes leads to kidney failure.

What is a urinary tract infection (UTI)?
A UTI is a bacterial infection that affects any part of the urinary tract.  Your urinary tract includes the organs that collect and store urine and release it from your body.  They are the kidneys, ureter, bladder and urethra.  Some signs and symptoms of a UTI can include frequent feeling and/or need to urinate, pain during urination, and cloudy urine.

Dr. Lysette Iglesias M.D.

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