Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can be dangerous if you do not take care at the earliest possible. It may not become apparent until the kidney function is significantly impaired. Chronic Kidney Disease is a slow and progressive process of kidney impairment over a period of several years. Eventually, the disorder may lead to permanent kidney failure.
What Happens in Chronic Kidney Disease?
The kidneys are responsible for filtering wastes and excess fluids from blood; these are then excreted in the form of urine. If you develop Chronic kidney disease, it is diagnosed at an advanced stage when the excretion does not take place properly; dangerous levels of fluid and wastes builds up in the body. In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, a few signs or symptoms are seen. Treatment focuses on slowing the progression of the kidney damage, usually by controlling the underlying cause. Chronic kidney disease can result in end-stage kidney failure if not taken care of.
What are the Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease?
Signs and symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease develop as the kidney damage progresses.
They may include:
- Appetite loss
- Disturbances in sleep
- Fatigue and weakness
- Decreased mental sharpness
- Change in urinating quantity
- Swelling of feet
- Persistent itching and muscular cramps
- Shortness of breath
Chest pain may occur in case fluid builds up around the lining of the heart.
But how will you know if you have Chronic Kidney Disease? The symptoms are often not specific. They may not be apparent until a serious damage has occurred.
- So, you must check for the risk factors with your doctor- your family history of kidney disease. Patients having diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases or obesity are also vulnerable to Chronic Kidney Disease. Smoking is also a risk factors of this disease.
- The eGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate) indicates the efficiency of kidneys. Such tests for kidney health are recommended. If eGFR falls below 60, there is a risk of developing kidney disease.
- High creatinine level shows that your kidneys are in trouble!
- High blood pressure (more than 120/80) causes kidney disorder, but it can vice-versa too (kidney dysfunction can cause high blood pressure).
How do we Treat Chronic Kidney Disease?
Chronic kidney disease damages the kidneys permanently, but one can keep the kidneys as healthy as possible to stop the conditions from getting worse.
In general, a few basic things can keep away kidney damage at bay for some time.
- Treatment includes kidney-friendly diet which prevents further damage to kidneys. Limit certain foods that can reduce certain minerals in the body. Low protein is strictly recommended to reduce the load of blood filtration on kidneys.
- Early detection of any renal abnormality can help avoid kidney failure. If kidney function fails, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive. The medical treatment aims to control the cause of kidney disorder, such as controlling the blood pressure.
- Find out the medicines from your doctor that can help protect your kidneys:
- You can control kidney disease complications by medications for high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol levels. Frequent blood tests to monitor your condition. Doctors usually recommend a water pill (diuretic) and a low-salt diet.
- Medications to treat anemia can help increase production of red blood cells, which may relieve fatigue and weakness.
- The doctors recommend diuretics to the balance of fluids in the patients’ body. This prevents accumulation of fluids in legs, and reduces blood pressure.
- Doctors prescribe Calcium and vitamin D supplements for weak bones.
- Follow-up testing at regular intervals is essential to see whether your kidney disease remains stable or progression of the disease.
If your kidneys are still not functioning properly, they may be near-complete kidney failure. That is end-stage kidney disease. Doctors usually suggest dialysis or a kidney transplant in such a condition.
Patients also choose conservative measures.
- Dialysis artificially removes waste products and extra fluid from your blood with the help of catheters and additional devices that help to carry out this function without much difficulty.
- Kidney transplantation is the surgical placing a healthy kidney from a healthy donor into your body. But medications are required to prevent rejection of the new organ by your body. Following transplantation, you may not need to be on dialysis.
- Conservative measures are fine, but that won’t leave you with a healthier life after complete kidney failure. It may help you continue with your life for just a few more months.
- Regenerative medicine approaches include boosting the body’s natural healing ability, use of healthy cells, tissues or organs from healthy donors to replace damaged ones or delivering specific types of cells to restore healthy tissue and organ function. For Chronic kidney disease patients, regenerative medicine approaches may bring slow progression of the disease.
How can you Prevent Chronic kidney disease?
The most important point to follow is the prevention of Chronic kidney disease. Above all, reduce your risk of developing kidney disease by the following:
- First of all follow strict medical instructions while using over-the-counter non-prescription pain relievers. Having too many pain relievers can cause kidney damage. You should take painkillers only on your doctor’s advice.
- Stay physically active. You must maintain a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, find out healthy strategies from your doctor. Focus on healthy eating and regular exercising.
- Cigarette smoking is very harmful for your kidneys and make the conditions worse. Quit smoking. Take help of support groups, and counselling and do every possible thing that can help you to stop smoking if you are a smoker.
- Ask your doctor about the signs of kidney damage. Regular check-ups are important.
- If you have diabetes or high blood pressure be cautious about your kidney health. Keep your blood sugar and blood pressure under control and prevent kidney disease.
- Get the kidneys regularly checked if advised, by your doctor.
You can keep your Chronic kidney disease under control with proper medication and strict fitness regime. Do as per your doctor’s advice, and follow his instructions with care. If ignored, Chronic kidney disease leads to quick progression of kidney damage. Take care of your health and reduce the stress on your organs.