Living with One Kidney: What to Know

  • While most individuals have 2 kidneys, there is only one functioning kidney to lead an active, healthy lifestyle.
  • If you only have one kidney, it’s crucial to keep it safe, and it is working correctly because there isn’t a second kidney that can take over should it fail.
  • A healthy lifestyle maintained by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and scheduling regular visits with your physician helps ensure that your kidneys are healthy.
  • Read on to find out the details about life with just one kidney.

What’s it like living with only one kidney instead of the two?

  • The kidneys remove excess fluid and waste from your blood to eliminate it by your body into your urine.
  • One kidney can filter enough blood to ensure that your body functions correctly. This is why you can stay healthy and healthy using just one kidney.

The guidelines for living a healthy lifestyle when you only have one kidney are identical for those with two kidneys. These comprise:

  • eating a balanced diet
  • exercising regularly
  • Maintaining a healthier weight.
  • Staying hydrated
  • Maintaining a normal blood pressure as well as the level of blood sugar (managing high blood pressure or diabetes, if they occur)
  • visiting your doctor frequently to check-ups

Furthermore, if you have only one kidney, you must be extra cautious to ensure it is functioning correctly. This is a concern for:

  • protecting it from harm
  • Beware of medications that may cause damage, for example, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs)

The reasons for having one kidney

There are several reasons that you could have one kidney. This includes:

  • The only thing you were born with was one kidney.
  • A portion of one or more kidneys has been taken out (nephrectomy) to treat a medical problem or injury.
  • You’ve received an organ transplant.
  • You have donated a kidney to someone who required an organ transplant.
  • There are also two kidneys, but only one of the functions in the same way as having only one kidney.
  • One of the significant differences in the results from having one kidney is related to the fact that you may have been born with only one kidney or been deprived or donated one.
  • If you are born with only one kidney, this single kidney is responsible for both kidneys as early as day one. It can eventually grow to become a more significant and more efficient kidney.
  • If the kidney is taken away or given, the left kidney does not respond, so the kidney’s overall function decreases by about half.

Do you have any short-term or long-term issues that arise from living with only one kidney?

Your kidneys play an essential role in ensuring the balance of fluids in your body, ensuring that proteins are in your blood, as well as regulating blood pressure.

If your kidneys cease to function, it could be:

  • develop high blood pressure (hypertension)
  • lose protein in your urine (proteinuria)
  • retain fluid
  • Most people with one kidney lead an everyday existence without experiencing severe or temporary complications.
  • But the likelihood of developing mild high levels of blood pressure, fluid loss, and proteinuria may be slightly greater in the case of one organ instead of both. This is because an additional kidney could compensate for the kidney that is no longer functioning.
  • Since it doesn’t have a backup and no backup, the failure of a single kidney can result in liquid retention, proteinuria, and high blood pressure sooner than the case if there were two kidneys.

The kidneys of your one is protected from injury.

If you only have one kidney, harming it can be a significant issue because there’s no other kidney to help. If the injury is severe and your kidney ceases to function completely, it will require dialysis or a kidney transplant to live.

To prevent this from happening to avoid, it’s essential to safeguard your kidneys from damage. Beware of contact-based sports, which may cause kidney damage. They include:

  • boxing
  • football
  • hockey
  • martial arts
  • rugby
  • soccer
  • wrestling

If you are a player in contact sports, padding and other protective equipment can reduce the chance of injury to your kidneys. However, it doesn’t remove the possibility entirely.

Other risky activities should be avoided or taken using extra caution. This includes:

  • rock climbing
  • water sports like jet skiing or water skiing
  • Motorcycle riding
  • motorsports, such as racing
  • riding on horses
  • bungee jumping
  • Skydiving

In the long-term in the long run, unless your kidney gets damaged, the losing function in the single kidney is typically minimal and not noticeable.

Do you have to follow an exclusive diet?

  • The majority of people who have a single kidney do not need to adhere to any particular diet. However, as with people who have two kidneys, you must be eating a balanced, healthy diet.
  • They are hydrated regularly, and drinking water when thirsty is better than dehydration and overhydration.
  • If you only have one kidney due to an organ transplant or have kidney disease, you may have to limit the amounts of sodium, phosphorus, and protein you consume.
  • The reason is that the kidney can’t remove the blood-borne substances efficiently, which is why they can accumulate.
  • It is also possible to limit the number of fluids you consume.
  • Consult your physician about your nutritional requirements and any dietary limitations.

The vitality of living a healthy and balanced living style

Whether you have two or one kidney, you must strive to live a healthier lifestyle in conjunction with eating a healthy diet. This includes:

  • Smoking is not a good idea.
  • getting regular exercise
  • keeping an appropriate weight
  • Remaining well hydrated
  • The restriction of alcohol
  • reducing stress
   Living with One Kidney
Living with One Kidney

Can alcohol be consumed using only 1 kidney?

  • The organs of your body have been impacted by alcohol, including the kidneys. Moderate consumption of alcohol (one daily drink for women and two drinks daily for males) generally won’t cause harm to the kidneys.
  • Alcohol boosts the quantity of urine that you produce, but it also reduces your kidney’s capacity to cleanse the blood. This alters the fluid and electrolyte balance of your body and causes you to get dehydrated.
  • If you don’t have enough fluid in your body, cells that line your organs, like your kidneys, won’t function effectively. Then, eventually, it can cause irreparable damage.
  • It is essential to know that your liver is also crucial in ensuring electrolyte and fluid balance. Liver harm due to excessive alcohol interferes with the balance of your body, making it harder for your kidneys effectively.
  • The risk of damage to the kidneys is higher in people who drink heavily and smoke.
  • Alcohol can cause this problem regardless of whether you have just one kidney or even two; however, it can cause kidney damage faster if you have one kidney that functions.

Do you think you’ll need dialysis?

  • Dialysis fulfills the role of your kidney by filtering blood, removing the excess fluid and waste. The procedure is only performed when you’ve lost all or most of your kidney function.
  • As per the National Kidney Foundation, dialysis is only recommended if the kidneys lose up to 85-90% of their functions.
  • Because you generally have the same kidney functioning when you only have one kidney in your body, you likely shouldn’t require dialysis until your kidney is failing.

When should I visit an ophthalmologist?

It is recommended that you visit your doctor every year to check your single kidney. If you experience any problems, it is recommended to be examined more frequently.

Two tests are performed to assess the function of your kidneys:

  • The glomerular filtration rate (GFR) indicates how your kidneys can filter blood. The calculation is based on an estimate of the creatinine levels in your blood.
  • Protein levels found in your pet’s urine are tested to determine if the filter inside your kidneys is leaking and damaged. The presence of high levels of protein in your urine can indicate kidney failure.

The blood pressure of your patient must be monitored.

High blood pressure could be an indicator of kidney failure. It may also cause damage to the kidney’s blood vessels which could cause kidney damage to get worse.

Lifestyle modifications and medication can help lower blood pressure and help prevent the possibility of further damage to your kidneys.

What is an organ transplant?

  • Based on the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Health, approximately 200 000 people who have Trusted the Source across the United States have a functioning kidney transplant.
  • The procedure of a kidney transplant is only possible if you cannot function kidneys. The risk of this procedure and the adverse side effects of the drugs you’ll require for the rest of your life far outweigh the slight improvement in functionality you can expect from the transplant of a second kidney.
  • If your kidney is damaged or ill and stops functioning, you may be able to receive a transplant.
  • Whatever number of kidneys you have at the beginning, it is just one kidney during the process of a transplant. The kidney that is transplanted usually becomes larger and stronger with time. Then, the kidney you transplanted will function as effectively as two kidneys.

The main takeaway

  • Most people with one kidney live everyday life, with healthy and normal health. Whether you have one or two, a balanced way of life is vital to ensure that they function correctly.
  • This means following a healthy diet, regularly exercising, and keeping a healthy weight by limiting alcohol consumption, staying hydrated, and visiting your physician every year at least.
  • Beware of contact sports and other activities that may result in injury is among the essential things you could do to keep your one kidney in good health.