There are many causes of kidney disease. These affect the kidney to different degrees, causing them to fail at different rates. Some of these are inherited, while others are related to existing conditions such as diabetes, other inflammatory diseases or infections. A list of common causes of kidney failure are as follows:
A) Diabetic nephropathy
Diabetic nephropathy is kidney failure resulting from long-standing and poorly controlled diabetes. It is now the most important cause of end-stage kidney disease in Singapore and elsewhere in the world. Patients with diabetes mellitus commonly have many other associated problems such as heart attacks, strokes, eye disease, gangrene, numbness of the feet, and rapid swings in blood pressure from a lying to a standing position. They are also prone to infections of the abdomen, skin, ears, and feet.
B) Chronic glomerulonephritis
Chronic glomerulonephritis refers to a group of different kidney diseases that initially affect a specific microscopic structure of the kidney called the glomerulus. The most common form is called Ig A (pronounced as I G A) nephropathy. This kidney disease can take 3 to 40 years before reaching end-stage kidney disease. There are many other forms of glomerulonephritis, such as focal and segmental glomerulosclerosis, membranous glomerulopathy, membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis, to name a few.
C) Polycystic kidney disease
This is a form of inherited kidney disease associated with the development of multiple sacs of fluid (cysts) within the substance of the kidney. These patients tend to develop hypertension, kidney stones, and recurrent urine infection or infections of the cysts of the kidney. They can have other associated problems, the most serious of which is a rupture of the brain's blood vessels (called a leaking berry aneurysm), which can bring on a sudden and severe headache.
D) Lupus Nephritis
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune condition that can affect various parts of the body. Patients with SLE commonly develop kidney disease, namely lupus nephritis. The patterns of kidney disease vary widely, and their responses to therapy vary. Patients with SLE usually suffer from many other manifestations, including hair loss, joint pain of the hands, wrists and knees, facial rash, mouth ulcers, and gut, lungs, and blood involvement.
E) Reflux nephropathy
This is another inherited disease characterised by recurrent urine infection in childhood associated with a backwash of urine from the bladder upwards into the kidney during urination. This leads to kidney scarring, loss of kidney tissue and kidney failure.