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Your Ultimate Guide to Chronic Kidney Disease

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Your Ultimate Guide to Chronic Kidney Disease

Renal Sciences | Posted on 02/02/2023 by Dr. Ashwini Sharma



We, humans, tend to ignore the signs our body gives. We all know kidneys are a very important organ of the human body as it keeps us healthy by removing the waste produced by cells. Our complete body relies on the kidneys to get through the day.

If you are ignoring signs like loss of appetite, sleep deprivation, etc. then you must understand that it can lead to major complications which might be difficult to treat later. Hence, it is very important that you must not delay your appointment with a healthcare professional. 

You can get in touch with Rukmani Birla Hospital as they are well-known for their multispecialty services. You will not only find the best diagnostic methods but also the most effective treatment offered by the most experienced and highly skilled medical professionals. 

Additionally, we will take you through everything you should know about CKD. So, make sure to give it a good read till the end. Kindly note that this is for informational purposes and doesn’t construe with the doctor’s consultation.

What is chronic kidney disease?

Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also known as kidney failure involves gradual kidney function damage. The kidneys are responsible for filtering wastes and excess fluids from the blood which are then flushed out through urine. If chronic kidney disease is advanced, then it can lead to hazardous fluid levels, and electrolytes and build up wastes in the body.

In the initial chronic kidney disease stages, there is a high probability that you might not notice any signs or few symptoms. Usually, people with CKD get to know about it only when it has already reached its advanced stage. Hence, it is important to be mindful of chronic kidney disease symptoms.

What are the symptoms of Chronic kidney disease?

In the early stages of CKD, the probability is that you might not notice any symptoms. But as the condition worsens here are the symptoms that you can come across:

  • Urge to urinate often
  • Weakness, low energy, and tiredness
  • Appetite loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Foamy urine
  • Blood in urine
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Numbness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle cramping
  • High blood pressure
  • Skin darkening

Are there any complications of chronic kidney disease?

Yes, it is crucial to know that if your kidneys aren’t functioning right, then your complete body isn’t either. There are various complications you can come across if CKD is left untreated:

  • Metabolic acidosis
  • High blood pressure
  • High phosphorus
  • Fluid build-up
  • Reduced immune response
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Low red blood cell count
  • Gout
  • Weak and brittle bones

What are the causes of chronic kidney disease?

Chronic kidney disease occurs when an illness or condition causes impairment in kidney functionality. Poor kidney function leads to damage and the condition keeps worsening over the years or months. The following are the chronic kidney disease causes:

How to diagnose chronic kidney disease?

When initiating the chronic kidney disease diagnosis, the doctor will check for signs and ask you about the symptoms. To be certain of CKD, the following tests might be ordered:

  • Urine test- It helps in determining if albumin is present in urine as it indicates kidney damage
  • Kidney scans- Ultrasound scans for assessing the shape and size of the kidney. In some cases, the doctor might also order MRI or CT scans
  • Kidney biopsy- It ensures making a precise diagnosis as it involves extraction of the kidney tissue and looking for the cell damage
  • Chest X-ray- It assists in checking pulmonary edema which is fluid retained in the lungs
  • GFR-This helps in understanding when the kidneys are filtering waste properly or not.

How is chronic kidney disease treated?

Chronic kidney disease treatments usually comprise measures to control the signs and symptoms, eliminate complications, and slow down the disease progression. There is no exact cure available for CKD. If the kidneys are damaged severely, then your doctor might suggest end-stage kidney disease.

Your doctor will begin the treatment by controlling the cause of kidney disease. The options for CKD treatment differ depending on the cause. Following is the treatment to control kidney disease complications:

Medications

  • Medications for people with high blood pressure. The doctor will give you a common medicine to lower your blood pressure which is angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE), or angiotensin receptor blockers to preserve kidney functionality

  • Medications to relieve swelling are given to patients who experience swelling in the legs and high blood pressure. Diuretics are often recommended to maintain fluid balance in the body.

  • Medications to treat anemia are recommended if you have iron deficiency. Iron supplements will help in producing more red blood cells and will also relieve fatigue including weakness linked to anemia.
  • Other medications for different conditions are suggested which include low cholesterol levels, protect your bones, and minimizing waste products in the blood

Treatment for end-stage kidney disease

 If your kidneys are unable to keep up with the waste and fluid clearance on their own and you experience complete kidney failure, then it means that you might have end-stage kidney disease. In this case, your doctor will recommend dialysis or probably kidney transplantation.

  • Dialysis- It artificially removes waste products and additional fluid from the blood when kidneys cannot do this. There is a machine involved for filtering the waste and excess fluids from the blood in hemodialysis.
  • Kidney transplant- The doctor will place a healthy kidney from a donor into the body in a kidney transplant. Once the kidney transplantation is done, your doctor will give you some medications so that your body accepts the new organ. There is no requirement of being on dialysis during a kidney transplant.

Tips to prevent chronic kidney disease

The first tip is you must visit your healthcare provider frequently. Identifying and managing the risk factor will also help to prevent kidney disease from growing. Here are more tips you must keep in mind:

  • Make sure to control your blood pressure
  • If you have diabetes, then control your blood sugar
  • Make sure to eat a healthy diet
  • Quit smoking
  • Exercise daily for 30 minutes  
  • Ensure healthy weight

Conclusion

If you are diagnosed with kidney disease, it doesn’t have to interfere with living your life. With proper care and watchfulness, you can have your best life and enjoy work, family, and everything you love. Kidney disease symptoms can simply be misunderstood. Hence, make sure to consult the healthcare professional as soon as you observe the symptoms of kidney disease.

FAQs

What are the early symptoms of kidney disease?

The early symptoms of kidney disease are foamy urine, fatigue, appetite loss, and urinary output changes.

What are the five stages of CKD?

The five stages of CKD are:

  • Stage 1- Normal
  • Stage 2- Mild
  • Stage 3- Moderate
  • Stage4- severe
  • Stage 5- end stage