Nick Cannon Hospitalized with “Mild Kidney Failure,” Cause Not Disclosed

Mariah Carey took to Twitter today to report that her husband, America’s Got Talent host Nick Cannon has been hospitalized in Aspen, Colorado with “mild kidney failure.” Cannon had been taken to the hospital for abdominal pain.

Mariah later blogged on her website:

This is us in the hospital – role reversal; Last year it was me attached to the machines (after having dembabies) and Nick was there with me through it, and now here we are.

We’re trying to be as festive as possible under the circumstances but please keep Nick in your thoughts because this is very painful. They tried to kick me out of the hospital but here I am pon de bed with Mr. C.

We’re doing OK but we’re “straaaaaanded in Aspen”. #DramaticDivaPlace (I know, we could be in a lot worse places) but the truth is as long as we’re together, we’re OK. I’m not trying to make light out of the situation because it’s a serious moment that’s very tough on all of us so please keep us and our family in your prayers

What do the Kidneys do?

The kidneys are a pair of vital organs that perform many functions to keep the blood clean and chemically balanced. They also help control blood pressure and make hormones that your body needs to stay healthy. They are bean-shaped, fist-sized organs located near the middle of the back, on either side of the spine just below the rib cage.

The kidneys are sophisticated reprocessing machines. Every day, a person’s kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood to filter out about 2 quarts of waste products and extra water. The wastes and extra water become urine, which flows to the bladder through tubes called ureters. The bladder stores urine until releasing it through urination.



The actual removal of wastes occurs in tiny units inside the kidneys called nephrons. Each kidney has about a million nephrons.

In the nephron, a glomerulus—which is a tiny blood vessel, or capillary—intertwines with a tiny urine-collecting tube called a tubule.

The glomerulus acts as a filtering unit- it keeps normal proteins and cells in the bloodstream, but allows extra fluid and wastes to pass through.

A complicated chemical exchange takes place, as waste materials and water leave the blood and enter the urinary system.  At first, the tubules receive a combination of waste materials and chemicals the body can still use. The kidneys measure out chemicals like sodium, phosphorus, and potassium and release them back to the blood to return to the body. In this way, the kidneys regulate the body’s level of these substances. The right balance is necessary for life.

What is Kidney Failure?

If the kidneys are damaged, they don’t work properly. Harmful wastes can build up in your body. Your blood pressure may rise. Your body may retain excess fluid and not make enough red blood cells. This is called kidney failure.

Kidney disease is most often caused by diabetes or high blood pressure. These diseases damage the blood vessels in the kidneys, so the kidneys are not able to filter the blood as well as they used to. Usually this damage happens slowly, over many years. As more and more blood vessels are damaged, the kidneys eventually stop working.

Other risk factors for kidney disease are cardiovascular (heart) disease and a family history of kidney failure.

What are the Symptoms of Kidney Failure?

People in the early stages of CKD usually do not feel sick at all.
People whose kidney disease has gotten worse may:

  • need to urinate more often or less often
  • feel tired
  • lose their appetite or experience nausea and vomiting
  • have swelling in their hands or feet
  • feel itchy or numb
  • get drowsy or have trouble concentrating
  • have darkened skin
  • have muscle cramps

If your kidneys fail completely, a kidney transplant or dialysis can replace the work your kidneys normally do.

Check out the Celebrity Diagnosis Casebook on Kidney Failure at Resounding



Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

1 Comment

  1. Sarah Drew

    September 23, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Mariah Carey’s tweet and Dr Berman’s blog post epitomise the way in which medicine has shot headlong into the twenty-first century. Whilst Carey’s tweet and its appearance in this blog seem in many ways a million miles away from medical atlases, the first published form of medical knowledge, they actually tell two ends of a slowly unfolding story. These atlases began a pursuit to depict ‘ideal’ or ‘characteristic’ images of the body to try and understand the complex beings in which we live. The simplified drawings of the kidney that Dr Berman uses here to explain the kidney’s function have clear ties to this early pursuit and the first depictions. Body parts are shown to stand separate, clean and alone from the rest of the body.

    The persistent use of such images in medical visualisation is interesting when considered in the wider context of contemporary medical capabilities. Advances in technology allow us to see far more literally inside the body (see the Visible Human Project for a slice-by-slice view of the body’s interior,

    And the drawing of the kidney in Dr Berman’s article is clear:

    The most visible difference between these two images is the extent to which their detail is simplified according to the needs of the audience. Knowledge comes not simply from information, but from being armed with the tools to understand a specific situation. The internet has brought us into the ‘information age’, an era in which information is no longer hard sought, but a commodity with which editing and a critical eye is the greatest asset. Blog posts are a comparatively new way of sharing information in the world of medicine, and as Catherine Waldby has highlighted, the medium through which we communicate is hugely significant in shaping the knowledge that we impart. Dr Berman’s post presents the information about kidney disease that she deems the most relevant to her audience, but also includes several links through which the reader can access further information should they so wish. The blogger does not just represent information, they also curate it. They offer their own unique map to navigating the vast web of resources we now have at our fingertips. The blogger operates in the traditions they inherited from the early ‘atlasers’ of the body, but now navigates an almost saturated field in which they are no longer forging new paths to understanding but rather editing the best ones for their audience.
    Dr Berman’s explanation of kidney failure may have been prompted by a thoroughly twenty-first tweet, but it is informed by long traditions of medical representation. Whilst interfaces may have changed, and the way in which we physically engage with information has moved into the internet age, styles of representation have had remarkable stability.

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