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Home > Personal Injury > Industrial Diseases > Kidney Disease - Causes and treatments

Kidney disease - Causes and treatments

Renal disease outside the workplace

Kidney disease can be caused by factors in the workplace. However, the two main causes of kidney disease outside of the workplace are high blood pressure or diabetes. If you are suffering from kidney disease and have not been diagnosed with either of those conditions, it is possible that you have been exposed to a hazardous substance in the workplace.

If you have been exposed to toxic substances in the workplace and have received medical advice to the effect that this has caused you to experience health problems, such as kidney disease, you may be able to bring a claim for damages, otherwise known as compensation.

Personal injury news stories

Clear Answers personal injury solicitors deal with a large number of industrial disease compensation claims each year, including those resulting from negligent exposure to hazardous substances causing kidney damage. Please visit our Personal Injury News section to view details of these stories and other successful personal injury compensation claims that Clear Answers’ solicitors have been involved in.

Kidney disease – important information

Please select one of the links below for more information about kidney disease.

Kidney disease – renal failure

On either side of the body, beneath the main ribcage, the role of the kidneys is to filter waste products from the blood before converting them into urine. Bean-shaped organs, they help to maintain:

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Substances that can cause kidney disease

Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic and uranium are heavy metals that are used in some industries. They are classed as nephrotoxins (substances that cause inflammation of the kidney - nephritis). Please visit our section on kidney disease in the workplace to read about these harmful substances.

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Symptoms of kidney disease and renal failure

Fortunately, we are normally born with two kidneys, which provide the body with substantially more kidney function than is necessary for our survival. Even if we are in the situation of having only one functioning kidney, this is usually sufficient function for our survival. Unfortunately, this means that people who are suffering with chronic kidney disease will be unaware of their condition until either it is diagnosed by routine testing, or their condition deteriorates towards kidney failure (established renal failure).

A routine blood or urine test for other unrelated reasons, can often discover a problem with kidney function long before the symptoms become apparent.

If the kidney(s) continue to lose function undiagnosed, the symptoms of impending kidney failure may include:

In the case of male sufferers, there may be additional problems with erectile dysfunction (the inability to achieve or maintain an erection).

In extreme circumstances, chronic kidney disease is a potentially serious condition and sufferers can have an increased risk of a stroke or heart attack due to the changes that occur in the circulation, and can cause kidney failure (established renal failure).

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Causes of kidney disease and renal failure

Factors which may cause kidney disease and / or renal failure and which are unrelated to occupational exposure to toxic substances include several pre-existing conditions. It is therefore vital that you receive medical attention as soon as possible, and a diagnosis of both your condition and the possible cause.

High blood pressure and diabetes are the most common causes of kidney disease. However, there are several other conditions which can lead to kidney problems, including hereditary conditions or development problems during pregnancy, such as:

Conditions resulting from long-term medication or other health issues include:

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Testing for kidney disease and renal failure

Often kidney disease or renal failure will be identified during routine blood or urine tests for other reasons. However, if it is suspected that kidney disease is present, there are several other tests which can be used to identify the extent of the damage.

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Treatment of kidney disease and renal failure

Whilst treatment should begin as soon as symptoms appear and a diagnosis is confirmed, it should be remembered that many of these symptoms might also be caused by less serious conditions. It is important that a clear diagnosis is confirmed before treatment for kidney disease or renal failure begins. An early diagnosis by blood or urine tests will enable treatment to begin before the symptoms appear, giving a potentially better outcome and preventing many of the symptoms occurring.

Treatment of your condition will depend very much on the damage done to your kidneys before your diagnosis is confirmed. The extent of the damage is classified in stages and treatment will be intensified depending on your condition.

Stages one, two and three will normally be dealt with by your GP and will involve making changes to your lifestyle which will help lower your blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure in order to prevent further damage. In some circumstances, you may be required to also take medication to control your blood pressure.

Should your condition have deteriorated to stage four or five, it is more likely that you will be referred to a specialist where additional treatments such as different medication may be prescribed. More details of the medication that you may be prescribed can be found on the website for the National Kidney Federation.

In the event of a complete renal failure, the usual functions of the kidney virtually cease and the condition becomes life threatening. Suffers can only survive by receiving artificial kidney treatment (dialysis) or a kidney transplant.

If diagnosis is made at an early stage, further damage can be prevented and the risk of stroke or heart attack reduced. Further information on all aspects of kidney disease can be found on the NHS Choices website.

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Making a personal injury claim for occupational kidney disease

Whether your personal injury was caused by exposure to chemicals or hazardous substances at work or in a public place, you may still be entitled to make a claim. Providing it can be proven that your injury was caused by your exposure to the hazardous substance and the person or company who allowed you to come into contact with the chemical was negligent or in breach of applicable statutory regulations, then your claim for compensation should be valid.

Clear Answers’ personal injury lawyers are experts in all personal injury matters. We will be able to advise you whether or not you have a valid claim for compensation. Our specialist industrial disease lawyers will be happy to talk you through the process of making a claim in plain English and will be happy to answer any questions or queries you may have.

Telephone us now on 0800 783 9019 or complete one of our online compensation claim forms.

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