HomeDisease PreventionWhat Causes Atrophic kidney, Symptoms and Treatment

What Causes Atrophic kidney, Symptoms and Treatment


Atrophic kidney
Atrophic kidney

The kidneys play a crucial function in the organism. Any kidney dysfunction can damage numerous body organs. The kidneys are positioned below the rib cage on either side of the lower spine. Typically, the left kidney is a little bigger than the right. The left kidney is generally slightly higher and nearer the heart than the right. One or both kidneys can atrophy, but the left kidney may be more susceptible.

What is an Atrophic kidney?

Atrophic kidney, often referred to as renal atrophy, is a disorder in which one or both kidneys become smaller and cannot perform their usual functions. Contrast renal atrophy to kidney hypoplasia, a condition in which a person is born with relatively small kidneys. Instead, once-normally sized kidneys begin to shrink, leading to renal atrophy.

Causes of kidney Atrophy

The kidneys measure 10 to 12 cm, or about the fist size (about 5 inches). The kidney is smaller than usual due to renal atrophy. There are essentially two causes for this. The first is that a tiny kidney results from a congenital condition in which a portion of the kidney might not develop from birth. Most of the time, no particular care is required for this kind of renal atrophy or small kidney.

The second form, which can affect one or both kidneys, develops after birth. The primary functional units of the kidneys, the nephrons, may be lost, resulting in this type of renal atrophy. Renal atrophy can also be brought on by persistent infections or kidney obstruction. 

Kidney atrophy may result from: Renal artery stenosis is a condition in which the major arteries supplying circulation to the renal become blocked by fatty deposits or blood clots.

  • Blockage of the urinary tract prevents the urine from flowing normally, putting more pressure on the kidneys and harming the nephrons.
  • Kidney stones: A kidney stone can obstruct the kidneys if left ignored.
  • Chronic kidney disorders that can damage nephrons have long-lasting kidney infections, for example, pyelonephritis and polycystic renal disease.
  • Blockage of the urinary system
  • A sickle cell condition
  • Cancer
  • Damage to the kidneys typically takes place over time. Due to inadequate blood supply to the kidneys, this may occur.
  • It is linked to another medical condition, i.e., prediabetes, antiphospholipid disorder, or an infection like tuberculosis.
  • Arteries become more narrow (atherosclerosis)
  • Reduction in renal artery diameter (atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis)

Symptoms of Atrophic kidney

Most importantly, High blood pressure, low calcium, acidity, malnutrition, hunger (severe deficiency of minerals and vitamins), and serum creatinine levels rise. Others are the traditional warning indications of renal atrophy in contemporary medicine. Moreover, acute kidney injury can cause interstitial fibrosis, tubulointerstitial inflammation, and inadequate tubular healing, resulting in Renal atrophy. And it is caused by insufficient blood supply to the kidneys. 

Treatment of Atrophic kidney

One kidney might have unilateral or bilateral renal atrophy (both kidneys). Your doctor can determine how much kidney function is still present through blood and urine testing. Unless there is a persistent issue, like a recurrent condition, kidney removal is typically not necessary if the kidney is not functioning at all.

There may be medical intervention to maintain the kidney function that is still present if the kidney is still filtering or performing. Dialysis or a kidney transplant are the two options for treatment if both kidneys fail. Your kidneys may still be capable of satisfying the task even if one of them is atrophic. But if your kidneys only work at 10 to 15% of their capacity, you have renal failure. That implies you need to get therapy.

As a result, you require medical attention to perform a renal function. Dialysis is one method for accomplishing this. In hemodialysis, waste materials are removed from your blood and passed through a hemodialyzer, an artificial kidney device. Dialysate is a liquid pumped into your abdomen during peritoneal dialysis to filter waste from your body using a peritoneal dialysis catheter. Dialysis aids in doing the tasks that your failing kidneys can no longer handle.

It’s not a remedy, though. You will require dialysis many times weekly for the rest of your life or until you receive a kidney transplant. A healthy kidney is only accepted from a living or dead donor. However, the waiting period for a suitable kidney can last years. You must take antirejection drugs for the remainder of the kidney’s life after the transplant. You can improve your kidney health by managing your blood pressure, quitting smoking, managing your diabetes if you have it, maintaining a healthy weight, and following a low-sodium diet. It’s crucial to follow up with your physician for routine checkups.

1. Less Protein consumption

The kidneys must strive hard to remove the waste produced by the more proteins you consume. Consequently, you should consume lesser proteins and opt for foods that generate fewer waste products. Your kidneys have to work harder the more protein you consume. However, some protein is necessary. Animal items like poultry, dairy, eggs, fish, and meat contain it. Additionally, cereals, nuts, and beans can provide you with protein. Half a cup of cooked beans, rice, or noodles constitutes one serving.

Furthermore, a quarter of a cup of nuts is one serving. A serving of bread is one slice. Portion size is also essential. 2 to 3 ounces constitute one serving of chicken, fish, or meat. Half a cup equals a portion of yoghurt or milk. A chunk of cheese is one slice.

2. Maintain a healthy heart.

Foods that are good for your heart prevent fat from building up in your kidneys, blood vessels, and heart. Include the upcoming advice for a heart-healthier diet:

  • Avoid deep-frying and opt for baked, grilled, roasted, or stir-fried dishes.
  • Use olive oil in place of butter when cooking.
  • Avoid trans and saturated fats.
  • Good options include:
  • Veggies and fruits
  • Beans
  • Yogurt, cheese, and milk that are low-fat or fat-free
  • Fish, chicken, and lean meat pieces have removed the fat.

3. Lower Potassium Consumption

When you have renal atrophy, it is wise to take less potassium because your kidneys won’t be able to balance these elements properly, causing potassium to build up in the blood.

  • Among the foods deficient in potassium are:
  • Green beans and carrots
  • Apples
  • White rice, bread, and pasta
  • High potassium foods should be avoided, such as:
  • Oranges
  • Bananas
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • milk products
  • tomato with potato
  • stale fruit
  • Rock fruit (peaches, plums, avocado)

4. Lower Phosphorus Consumption

Kidney illnesses, including atrophic kidney, can cause a buildup of phosphorus in your blood. Therefore, it is advised to eat foods with lower phosphoric content. If kidney function continues to deteriorate, your doctor will provide tailored dietary advice. 

You might recommend eating meals that are lower in phosphorus if you have kidney disease because it can cause the development of phosphorus to build up in your blood.

Include the following foods in your diet:

  • Rice, pasta, and bread
  • Fresh produce and fruits
  • cereal made from corn and rice
  • See the food labels for information on the amount of phosphorus in packaged foods.

The reason for the atrophy will influence much of your treatment. Your kidneys might still be able to carry out their duties despite having an atrophic kidney. However, renal failure occurs if your kidneys only perform at 10 to 15 per cent of their standard capacity. To complete the kidneys’ function, you must have treatment.

5. Consume less sodium

  • The reason for the atrophy will influence much of your treatment. A diet with fewer than 2,300 mg of sodium per day is advised. 
  • Here are some suggestions for cutting less on sodium:
  • Whenever possible, choose fresh foods over prepared ones.
  • Before cooking or serving canned food, rinse it.
  • Check the salt content on food labels before purchasing.
  • Choose home-cooked meals over fast food and restaurants.
  • Use alternative seasonings in place of salt while making cuisine


Sometimes atrophic kidneys cannot be avoided because of the severity of the condition. Here are several steps you may take to maintain the best possible kidney health mentioned above. Take care of your diet and limit the elements that cause a burden on your kidneys. Then consult your doctor for a more authentic prescription according to the severity of your condition. 

  • Keep a healthy weight.
  • Complete your good sleep for at least seven to eight hours each night.
  • Don’t use tobacco goods to smoke.
  • Do exercise at least half an hour regularly.
  • Use prescription drugs as directed.
  • Keep an eye on your cholesterol levels.

Atrophic kidney Video

About The Author

Judy Lexie
Judy Lexiehttps://health.gd/
Hi there! I'm Judy Lexie, a passionate health and fitness content writer with over 5 years of experience in the industry. As a personal trainer and nutrition consultant, I'm dedicated to empowering individuals to achieve their health and wellness goals through evidence-based, practical advice.

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