Understanding kidney disease in children


According to experts, kidney failure can be caused by many underlying issues and generally falls into two categories of disease, classified as acute or chronic.  Acute diseases generally develop quickly, lasts for a limited amount of time and are more immediately severe than chronic conditions (think food poisoning). However, acute disease can also develop or cause lingering problems.

However, chronic diseases generally develop and worsen over time and do not go away. In children congenital defects causing urinary tract blockages (posterior urethral valves) or small or non-functioning kidneys (hypoplastic and dysplastic) or another disorder that causes scarring of the glomeruli that leads to nephrotic syndrome are the most common causes of kidney diseases.

Until age 4, birth defects and hereditary diseases are by far the leading causes of kidney failure. Between ages 5 and 14, hereditary diseases continue to be the most common causes, but glomerular disease incidence rises.  As children age past 15, glomerular diseases are the leading cause, and hereditary diseases become rarer, nephrologists say.

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