Know Everything About Chronic Kidney Disease

04 April, 2022

Know Everything About Chronic Kidney Disease


The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped important organs.

Their main function is to remove wastes and extra fluid from the body. Kidneys also help in removing acid that is produced by the cells of body cells and maintains a healthy balance of water and salts such as sodium, calcium, phosphorus and potassium in our blood.

Chronic kidney disease, also known as chronic renal disease or CKD, is a condition characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time. The damage caused to kidneys decreases their ability of filtering wastes out of body and these toxic products start accumulating in the body.

If kidney disease worsens, waste starts getting accumulated in blood and may lead to development of complications like high blood pressure, weak bones, nerve damage and poor nutritional health.

Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse.

If delayed the disease progresses and may lead to kidney failure which requires dialysis or a transplant to maintain life.

Symptoms usually observed are:

Most people do not have severe symptoms until their kidney disease worsens. However the symptoms commonly observed are

1. Nausea

2. Loss of appetite

3. Fatigue

4. Muscle cramps

5. Reduced urine

6. Swelling in feet

7. Itchy dry skin

In advanced cases, patients may have difficulty in breathing and at times experience heaviness in the chest due to fluid retention.

The main causes of chronic kidney disease:

1. The commonest causes for Chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure or hypertension.

2. The other conditions that cause kidney disease are glomerulonephritis and interstitial nephritis.

3. Kidney and urinary tract abnormalities before birth.

4. The other causes are obstructions caused by kidney stones or tumors.

5. An enlarged prostate gland in men or repeated urinary infections can also cause kidney damage.

Health problems caused due to kidney disease:

The complications arising due to kidney damage are

1. Fluid retention, which could lead to swelling in arms and legs, high blood pressure, or fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema)

2. A sudden rise in potassium levels in blood also known as hyperkalemia, can impair the heart's ability to function and may be life-threatening.

  • Weak bones, osteoporosis and an increased risk of bone fractures

  • Anemia

  • Decreased immune response, which makes the person more vulnerable to infections

  • Irreversible damage to kidneys eventually requires either dialysis or a kidney transplant for survival.

Precautions to prevent kidney disease:

To avoid or prevent kidney disease, one should be able to slow down its progress by making healthy choices.

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption.
  • Proper follow up and treatment should be taken for diabetes and blood pressure.
  • Should avoid unnecessary consumption of pain killers.

Ways to diagnose chronic kidney disease :

If the treating doctor finds any person having kidney problem, he may do some examinations, get your history and may ask you to perform renal function test along with routine blood tests.

In renal function tests creatinine, electrolytes and other protein levels are checked.

Urine routine, urine microalbumin and 24 hrs urine albumin test is performed.

Albumin to creatine ratio urine test: Albumin is a protein that shouldn't be found in urine and indicates kidney function problems.

Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR): The doctor will calculate Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR) using the results from the tests and other factors like age and gender. The result of the GFR is the best way to measure the level of kidney function and determine the stages of kidney.

In some cases radiological imaging tests are also performed like, sonography, renal scan, CT scan and renal biopsy through which the exact cause of kidney disease can be detected.

Treatment of chronic kidney disease:

Treatment is dependent upon the cause and the severity.

If the patient is diabetic or has high blood pressure, the medicines used are in accordance to the safety point of view of kidneys.

Diuretics are used wherein the excess swelling of body is reduced by removing water through urine.

Treatment of anemia – it is treated through injectibles like EPO and erythron.

Patients having high cholesterol levels are advised to take STATINS.

Many patients are advised to take supplements like calcium, vitamin B12 and folic tablets and are advised to have diet containing low potassium and low sodium .

If patients do not respond to these treatments , then they are advised to go for dialysis and kidney transplant.

Patients fear dialysis as they do not have clear idea about the procedure

Dialysis is universally accepted as it is easily available and completely safe procedure that helps in saving a life as well as avoiding the complications.

Dialysis removes the accumulated toxic products from the body.

Kidney transplant is used in some specific patients wherein the diseased kidney is replaced by the healthy kidney.

Life is challenging for the patients suffering from CKD.

They have to follow a specific diet, go for regular check ups , depend on medicines and in some cases go for dialysis frequently.

Good family support, lots of motivating, encouraging friends to keep their energy levels high are very important for them.

So let's help them to stay happy and healthy.

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