Rare diseases of the excretory system
In the last two newsletters, we explored both the anatomy of the urinary system and the physiology of the urinary system. In this issue, we'll examine what can go wrong. My intent here is not to explore the details of diseases of the urinary system, but rather, to explore their actual impact on the system.
Quite simply, if we understand what degrades the tissue and functions of the different parts of the urinary system, we have a chance to do something about it - to either prevent those things from happening in the first place, or reverse them after the fact - rather than merely managing symptoms. In other words, I intend to explore the diseases of the urinary system from the alternative health perspective that disease is the final manifestation of a series of events and choices rather than the medical perspective that disease is an isolated event unto itself. (Note: although kidney and bladder cancer kill some 28, 000 people a year in the US, we will not discuss them at this time but save them for a future discussion when we explore the anatomy and physiology of cancer itself.)
With the above perspective in mind, we're now going to examine the relationship of the following disease states to the urinary system:
- High blood pressure
- Low blood pressure
- Infection (bacterial and yeast)
- Interstitial cystitis
- Kidney stones
- Kidney Sludge
Diabetes is not a disease of the kidneys; but as we discussed in our exploration of the endocrine system, it is a disease of the pancreas. But that said, diabetes nevertheless has a huge impact on the health of your kidneys. The basics in terms of diabetes and the kidneys are simple. As we explained last newsletter, any excretion of glucose in the urine is abnormal. As a result of a simple filtration process, 100% of the sugar molecules in the blood are removed in the glomerulus and deposited in the urine filtrate. However, in a normal, healthy person, all of those sugar molecules (every single one of them) are then returned to the blood in the nephronic tubules. None of it remains in the final urine. People suffering from diabetes, however, produce more glucose than the tubules can handle; what can't be reabsorbed is excreted in the urine. In addition, the excess sugar in the urine creates an osmotic load that pulls water from the body into the urine leading to dehydration, along with diabetes and copious sweet urine. The brain picks up the information that we've lost too much fluid and it triggers dry mouth to encourage us to drink more water. Theoretically, if you drink enough water to compensate, all should be well and good. No harm; no foul. Unfortunately, diabetes presents two other problems for the kidneys that are not so easily resolved.
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