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Must Know Things About Chronic Kidney Disease - Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment

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Must Know Things About Chronic Kidney Disease - Symptoms, Causes, & Treatment

Renal Sciences | by Dr. Amlan Chakraborty | Published on 17/04/2023



Overview: Understanding Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic Kidney Disease, also known as CKD, is a progressive condition that affects the function of the kidneys. It is a long-term disease that slowly worsens over time and can lead to kidney failure if left untreated. 

Our kidneys filter out the toxic waste from the body through urine. But due to certain medical abnormalities, the kidneys are unable to filter the blood resulting in the increased concentration of toxins in our body. As a result, people start developing symptoms which can hamper their daily lifestyle. Additionally, if the condition persists, it can eventually lead to chronic kidney failure and result in death. 

Therefore, it is important to discuss your medical health with a doctor to ensure an early diagnosis of chronic kidney diseases. While this blog provides information regarding the conditions around chronic kidney diseases, it does not replace the significance of a doctor’s consultation.

What Are The Different Stages Of Chronic Kidney Diseases? 

Chronic kidney diseases are categorised into five different stages depending on the efficiency of the kidneys. The kidney filters out toxic substances from the body through urine. However, due to certain anomalies, the stages of chronic kidney diseases can be mild (stage-1) to very severe (stage-5). The doctor assigns the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) number based on the amount of creatinine (a waste product) in the blood. The doctor may also take into consideration, your age and gender. 

Stages

Glomerular Filtration Rate (ml/min) 

Characteristics

Stage I

90 and higher

The kidneys work well but may have signs of mild kidney damage.

Stage II

60 to 89

The kidneys work well but may have more signs of mild kidney damage

Stage III

30 to 59

Kidneys don’t work as they should along with moderately decreased kidney function. More noticeable symptoms.

Stage IV

15 to 29

Poor kidney functioning. Kidneys are moderate to severely damaged.

Stage V

Less than 15

Severely damaged kidneys with an increased risk of failure. Requires urgent kidney dialysis or a kidney transplant.

What Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Kidney Disease?

In the early stages, chronic kidney disease (CKD) may not cause any symptoms. However, as the disease progresses, the patient may experience several symptoms depending on the type, severity and area of the kidneys. Here are some common symptoms of chronic kidney diseases - 

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Swelling in the feet and ankles
  • Muscle cramps and twitches
  • Itchy skin
  • Urinary problems
  • Shortness of breath
  • High blood pressure
  • Changes in the amount and frequency of urine

How Does Chronic Kidney Disease Occur?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can have multiple causes depending on the origin and type of disease. In several cases, the exact cause of CKD is not known. Additionally, some people may be more prone to developing CKD due to genetic factors or other underlying health conditions. Common causes of chronic kidney diseases include - 

  • Diabetes: High blood sugar levels from uncontrolled diabetes can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys over time, leading to CKD.
  • High blood pressure: Uncontrolled high blood pressure can also damage the blood vessels in the kidneys and reduce their ability to function properly.
  • Glomerulonephritis: This is a group of diseases that damage the glomeruli, which are tiny filters in the kidneys that remove waste and excess fluids from the blood.
  • Polycystic kidney disease: This is a genetic disorder in which cysts develop in the kidneys, leading to CKD.
  • Kidney infections: Repeated kidney infections can damage the kidneys and cause CKD.
  • Urinary tract blockages: Blockages in the urinary tract, such as kidney stones or an enlarged prostate, can prevent urine from flowing properly and cause CKD.
  • Certain medications: Long-term use of certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can damage the kidneys and lead to CKD.

What Are The Treatment Options For Chronic Kidney Diseases?

There is no cure for chronic kidney disease, but treatment can help slow its progression and manage its symptoms. The treatment options include:

  • Medications: Medications can help control blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, and manage other health conditions that may be contributing to the progression of CKD.
  • Lifestyle changes: Changes in diet, exercise, and smoking cessation can help improve kidney function and manage CKD symptoms.
  • Dialysis: Dialysis is a treatment that removes waste and excess fluids from the blood when the kidneys are no longer able to perform this function. There are two types of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.
  • Kidney transplant: A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure in which a healthy kidney is transplanted from a donor into the patient's body. This is often the best option for patients with end-stage kidney disease.

Conclusion:

Chronic kidney disease is a progressive condition that can lead to kidney failure if left untreated. Early detection and treatment can help slow its progression and manage its symptoms. If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is important to consult a doctor as soon as possible.

FAQs

Can chronic kidneys be cured?

There is currently no cure for chronic kidney diseases. However, certain treatment methods can help relieve symptoms and ensure a healthy lifestyle. Get in touch with a doctor and discuss your symptoms to ensure a comprehensive diagnosis and early treatment. 

How long can someone live with chronic kidney disease?

The life expectancy of individuals with chronic kidney diseases depends on the severity and type of disease. Patients with stage 5 kidney disease are expected to live up to 10 years (on average). However, some patients have lived longer, up to 20 years depending on their medical health and lifestyle modifications. 

What foods are bad for the kidneys?

The doctor may recommend you stay away from excessive intake of sodium, potassium, and phosphorus if you have kidney disease. it’s important to watch items that contain high amounts including cola, brown rice, bananas, processed meats, and dried fruits. For more information, discuss your diet with the doctor to prevent the progression of chronic kidney disease.