Medullary Sponge Kidney Disease and Receiving Social Security DisabilityYour kidneys play an important part in the function of your body, not only by filtering your blood and getting rid of waste products, but also by balancing levels of electrolytes in your body, controlling blood pressure and stimulating the production of red blood cells. Your kidneys are located in your abdomen toward the back. Normally, one is on each side of your spine. They get their blood supply through the renal arteries directly from your aorta, and they send blood back to your heart through the renal veins to the vena cava. (The term "renal" is derived from the Latin name for kidney.) Your kidneys have the ability to monitor the acid-base balance of your body. They also monitor the amount of body fluid and the concentrations of electrolytes like sodium and potassium. Waste products of body metabolism like urea from protein metabolism and uric acid from DNA breakdown are filtered by your kidneys. Medullary sponge kidney disease is a disease where tiny sacs that are called cysts form in your medulla, which is the inner part of your kidney. These cysts create a sponge-like appearance. They keep urine from flowing freely through your tubules. Tubules are tiny tubes inside of your kidneys through which urine flows. Some of the difficulties caused by medullary sponge kidney disease are blood in your urine (hematuria), kidney stones and urinary tract infections. Rarely, this disease leads to more serious problems like total kidney failure. Although medullary sponge kidney disease is present at birth, signs and symptoms do not usually start until between the ages of 30 and 40. This disease affects about 1 in 5,000 to 20,000 people in the United States. Around 20% of the people who develop kidney stones have this disease. Medullary sponge kidney disease may not cause any signs or symptoms. Usually, the first sign or symptom of this disease is when you have a kidney stone or a urinary tract infection. Other signs and symptoms that you may experience with this condition are:
- Urine that smells really bad
- Pain or burning when you urinate
- Chills and fever
- Urine that is cloudy, dark or bloody
- Pain in your lower abdomen, groin or back.