Information for Patients
You have two kidneys, each about the size of your fist. They are near the middle of your back, just below the rib cage. Inside each kidney there are about a million tiny structures called nephrons. They filter your blood. They remove wastes and extra water, which become urine. The urine flows through tubes called ureters. It goes to your bladder, which stores the urine until you go to the bathroom.
Most kidney diseases attack the nephrons. This damage may leave kidneys unable to remove wastes. Causes can include genetic problems, injuries, or medicines. You have a higher risk of kidney disease if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or a close family member with kidney disease. Chronic kidney disease damages the nephrons slowly over several years. Other kidney problems include
Your doctor can do blood and urine tests to check if you have kidney disease. If your kidneys fail, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant.
NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Platelets, also known as thrombocytes, are small pieces of blood cells. They form in your bone marrow, a sponge-like tissue in your bones. Platelets play a major role in blood clotting. Normally, when one of your blood vessels is injured, you start to bleed. Your platelets will clot (clump together) to plug the hole in the blood vessel and stop the bleeding. You can have different problems with your platelets:
- If your blood has a low number of platelets, it is called thrombocytopenia. This can put you at risk for mild to serious bleeding. The bleeding could be external or internal. There can be various causes. If the problem is mild, you may not need treatment. For more serious cases, you may need medicines or blood or platelet transfusions.
- If your blood has too many platelets, you may have a higher risk of blood clots.
- When the cause is not known, this is called thrombocythemia. It is rare. You may not need treatment if there are no signs or symptoms. In other cases, people who have it may need treatment with medicines or procedures.
- If another disease or condition is causing the high platelet count, it is thrombocytosis. The treatment and outlook for thrombocytosis depends on what is causing it.
- Another possible problem is that your platelets do not work as they should. For example, in von Willebrand Disease, your platelets cannot stick together or cannot attach to blood vessel walls. This can cause excessive bleeding. There are different types of in von Willebrand Disease; treatment depends on which type you have.
NIH: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Atypical hemolytic-uremic syndrome Atypical hemolytic-uremic syndrome is a disease that primarily affects kidney function. This condition, which can occur at any age, causes abnormal blood clots (thrombi) to form in small blood vessels in the kidneys. These clots can cause serious medical problems if they restrict or block blood flow. Atypical hemolytic-uremic syndrome is characterized by three major features related to abnormal clotting: hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenia, and kidney failure.Hemolytic anemia occurs when red blood cells break down (undergo hemolysis) prematurely. In atypical hemolytic-uremic syndrome, red blood cells can break apart as they squeeze past clots within small blood vessels. Anemia results if these cells are destroyed faster than the body can replace them. This condition can lead to unusually pale skin (pallor), yellowing of the eyes and skin (jaundice), fatigue, shortness of breath, and a rapid heart rate.Thrombocytopenia is a reduced level of circulating platelets, which are cell fragments that normally assist with blood clotting. In people with atypical hemolytic-uremic syndrome, fewer platelets are available in the bloodstream because a large number of platelets are used to make abnormal clots. Thrombocytopenia can cause easy bruising and abnormal bleeding.As a result of clot formation in small blood vessels, people with atypical hemolytic-uremic syndrome experience kidney damage and acute kidney failure that lead to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in about half of all cases. These life-threatening complications prevent the kidneys from filtering fluids and waste products from the body effectively.Atypical hemolytic-uremic syndrome should be distinguished from a more common condition called typical hemolytic-uremic syndrome. The two disorders have different causes and different signs and symptoms. Unlike the atypical form, the typical form is caused by infection with certain strains of Escherichia coli bacteria that produce toxic substances called Shiga-like toxins. The typical form is characterized by severe diarrhea and most often affects children younger than 10. The typical form is less likely than the atypical form to involve recurrent attacks of kidney damage that lead to ESRD.