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The kidneys are bean shaped organs located at the back of your abdomen. Each kidney is about the size of a fist; 4-5 inches long. The kidneys help the body stay in a homeostatic condition. It has many functions like filtering the blood, removing water, controlling body fluid balance and regulating the balance of electrolytes. With all these functions; it’s important that your kidney functions right. Kidney disease occurs as a result of loss in renal function. Here are 7 things you should be aware of: 1. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the leading causes of kidney failure. Nearly 2 out of every 3 cases of kidney failure are as a result of these conditions. If you have any of these conditions, be sure to go for regular checkups to avoid irreparable kidney damage. 2. When kidney damage and decreased function lasts longer than 3 months, it is called Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). It’s a subtle disease because it is possible for symptoms not too occur until significant, often irreparable, kidney damage has occurred. 3. When the kidneys are damaged, waste products and fluid can build up in the body. This build up then causes swelling in the ankles, poor sleep, vomiting, shortness of breath and weakness. If the damaged kidney is left untreated, the kidney might ultimately stop functioning. 4. Early detection of chronic kidney disease (CKD) gives you the chance to take action so as to slow the progression of kidney disease and prevent ultimate kidney failure. 5. Long-term exposure to certain medications and chemicals, such as NSAIDS (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), like IBRUPOFEN and Naproxen, and the use of intravenous “street” drugs, can cause kidney failure. 6. Pyelonephritis, a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) that occurs within the kidneys, can lead to scarring while the infection heals. When multiple episodes of this condition occur, it leads to kidney damage. 7. Choosing a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise, good eating habits and good control of conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure will aid in preventing kidney disease.   About the Writer: Seyi Oluyole is a freelance writer and screenwriter. She is an avid reader, loves to dance and works with children.

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This article was first published on 16th March 2015

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