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Diseases of the Kidneys

IN THIS, we shall consider the diseases of the genito-urinary system, namely, the organs that eject the urine from the body-the kidneys. The genito-urinary system is no less important that the cardio-vascular system and the kidneys are one of the five major organs of the body-Aazai Raeesa-according to the Unani system of medicine.


Renal failure, i.e. the failure of the kidneys to perform their allotted function, is one of the most serious disorders that afflict mankind. This pair of glands is situated close to the spine in the upper part of the abdomen and filter the blood to remove its impurities which are ejected from the body through urine. The blood, in the course of its circulation through the body, passes through the glomerules (small capillaries with capsules) and the non-protein portion of the plasma (the liquid part of the blood) is filtered through them. The efficiency of these filters can be judge from the work load they bear throughout a life time. In one day they manage to filter 150 to 200 liters of the plasma; after which the usable part of the blood is returned to the heart through the renal vain. The waste matter is ejected through the bladder. While the amino-acids, glucose, sodium, potassium, calcium magnesium and chlorine are reabsorbed into the system, urea, uric acid and phosphates are ejected through the urine.

When the kidneys fall a prey to disease, their capacity to perform their function is impaired; the impurities which should be ejected continue to remain in the system, poisoning it. That is how uremia sets in. the symptoms common to various types of kidney disorders are: (i) Pain-inflammation of the kidneys (nephritis), formation of stones (calculi) in the gall bladder or the urinary tract etc. these diseases give rise to pain; the pain of inflammation is high up in the loins, but the pain in the lumber region is generally referred to as renal colic. Renal colic is usually a symptom of formation of stones in the kidney, the gall bladder or their lodgment in the urinary tract; (ii) Urine-the renal function is shown by the state of the urine. If there is any disturbance in the functioning of the kidneys, it invariably shows in the urine. It may be reduced in quantity if the kidneys are diseased and may even contain traces of blood. If there are pus cells in large quantities (the normal urine, when examined, is found to contain 0-4 pus cells per field), it is an indication either of some infection in the urinary tract or, in some cases suppuration in the kidneys. Another cardinal symptom of malfunctioning of the kidneys is the collection of fluid in abnormal quantities under the skin, particularly under the eyes. The condition is known to doctors as dropsy. The fourth category of disorders created by malfunctioning of the kidneys is evidenced in changes in the circulation of blood. If this pair of natural filters fail to perform their function, abnormal amount of uric acid is left in the blood, which gives rise to abnormal blood pressure. There is also a thickening of the arteries as in Bright's disease leading to pain in the chest, loss of mental power, bloodlessness, impairment of vision and even apoplexy. The fifth and the most serious symptom of kidney failure is the condition known as uremia in which there is a general poisoning of the system due to the presence of almost all the waste matter that should be ejected if the kidneys perform their function as they should.

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