Chronic Kidney Disease, or CKD, is a condition that means your kidneys are not properly filtering blood. It is considered chronic because the damage that is done to your kidneys is done slowly, over time. This results in a gradual loss of the function of your kidneys. Part of this damage is a waste build-up in your body, along with other health issues.
The function of your kidneys
Your kidneys act as a filter for waste, and the excess fluid from your blood. This waste exits your body through your urine. When chronic kidney disease is in an advanced stage, there are dangerous levels of fluid and waste built up in your body.
Symptoms of CKD
The early stages of chronic kidney disease show few symptoms. Symptoms may not be apparent until the diseases are significant. Some of the symptoms are muscle cramps, loss of appetite, swollen feet and ankles, nausea and vomiting, itching, too little, or too much, urine, sleeplessness, and trouble catching your breath.
How is CKD treated?
Treating chronic kidney disease focuses on slowing the progression of the damage to the kidney. This is usually done by trying to control what is causing the damage. CKD can progress to an end-stage result in kidney failure. Kidney failure is fatal without dialysis (artificial filtration) or a transplant of the kidney.
Acute kidney failure
In the case of sudden kidney failure (acute kidney failure), you may notice one, or more, of the following symptoms: Back pain, diarrhea, belly pain, fever, rash, nosebleeds, and vomiting. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should immediately, contact your doctor.
Your kidneys are instrumental in keeping your entire body working properly. With CKD, you may also experience issues with how the rest of your body is functioning. Some of these complications from CKD can include Bone disease, heart disease, high potassium, anemia, and fluid buildup. There are five stages of chronic kidney disease, from mild (stage one) to complete failure (stage 5). The stages are based on how well the kidneys can filter waste and fluid out of your blood.
What are the causes of CKD?
High blood pressure and diabetes are the most common causes of CKD. If you have either of these, you should work with your doctor to keep your blood pressure and blood sugar, under control. Doing this is the best way to prevent kidney disease. A healthy lifestyle can help prevent high blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease, or at a minimum, help keep them under control. Following a few tips can help lower our risk of CKD, and some of the issues that may cause it.
- Thirty minutes of daily exercise
- Following a low-salt diet
- Regular medical check-ups
- No tobacco use
- Limited alcohol consumption
How do you know if you have CKD?
Symptoms of CKD are not usually evident until kidneys are badly damaged. The only way to truly know is to have your kidneys tested. Testing is simple with the help of tests like eFGR , or estimated glomerular filtration rate. This test shows how well your blood is being filtered by your kidneys. Healthy blood should not contain a lot of creatinine. If your blood shows too much creatinine, this may be a sign that your kidneys are not filtering your blood well enough.
A urine test is another useful test in diagnosing CKD. Urine is tested to see if there is protein or blood present. Since your kidneys make urine, if there is blood present, it may be a sign that kidneys are properly functioning.
Monitoring blood pressure is a way to see how hard your heart is working to pump the blood in your body. High blood pressure can be a sign that your kidneys are not working well. Typically, normal blood pressure is below 120/80.
Slowing the progression
While damage to kidneys is usually permanent, you can take steps toward keeping them as healthy as possible. You may also be able to keep existing damage from progressing. Be sure to control blood pressure, exercise, limit alcohol and maintain a healthy weight.