Chronic kidney disease is a progressive loss of kidney function which eventually leads to permanent kidney failure. It is also known as chronic renal disease, chronic kidney failure, or chronic renal failure, and it is far more widespread than people realize.
Fast Facts on Chronic Kidney Disease
Here are some fast facts on chronic kidney disease. More in-depth information is in the main article.
- Common symptoms include fatigue, blood in urine, ad high blood pressure.
- Causes include diabetes and specific kidney diseases, including polycystic kidney disease.
- There is no cure for chronic kidney disease, so the treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.
- Diagnosis commonly occurs after biopsy, blood tests, or kidney scans.
Chronic Kidney Disease Symptoms
Chronic kidney failure is a progressive disease. Generally, it is not until the disease is fully advanced and the symptoms are noticeable that it gets detected.
Early detection can help prevent serious damage, so those who are at risk of developing kidney disease should have their kidney function regularly checked.
The most common signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease include:
- more frequent urination, especially at night
- muscle cramps
- protein in urine
- blood in urine
- dark urine
- decreased mental alertness
- decreased urine output
- unexplained headaches
- edema – swollen feet, hands, and ankles (face if edema is severe)
- fatigue and/or trouble sleeping
- male inability to get or maintain an erection
- sudden change in body weight
- muscle twitches
- pain on the side or mid to lower back
- panting (shortness of breath)
- hypertension (high blood pressure)
- itchy skin, that can become persistent
- loss of appetite
Chronic Kidney Disease Causes
Kidneys have an important function: filtering and eliminating waste and excess fluids from the body.
They typically can remove most waste materials that the body produces. But, if the blood flow to the kidneys is affected, they are working improperly due to damage or disease.
In most cases, progressive kidney damage is the result of a chronic disease like:
- Obstructed urine flow
- Kidney diseases like polycystic kidney disease, pyelonephritis, or glomerulonephritis
- Kidney artery stenosis
- Certain toxins – including fuels, solvents (such as carbon tetrachloride), and lead (and lead-based paint, pipes, and soldering materials)
- Fetal developmental problem
- Malaria and yellow fever
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Illegal substance abuse
- Some medications, for example, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
Chronic Kidney Disease Treatment
As already discussed, there is no cure for chronic kidney disease. But, there are therapies which help keep symptoms in check, slow the progression of the disease, and lower the risk of further complications. Besides medications, the most common treatments include:
- Anemia treatment (iron supplements, daily ferrous sulfate tablets, or blood transfusion)
- Phosphate balance (prescribed drugs like sucroferric oxyhydroxide (Velphoro) or ferric citrate.)
- Vitamin D
- High blood pressure (most people suffering from kidney disease also deal with hypertension. It is critical to bring the blood pressure down to protect the kidneys)
- Fluid retention (Most patients will be asked to restrict their fluid intake.)
- NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
End-Stage Kidney Disease Treatment
This is the point when the kidneys are functioning at less than 10%of normal capacity. The measures used so far, such as medications and treatment controlling the root causes, are not enough anymore. In this case, the patient will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to survive.
Chronic Kidney Disease Prevention
- Managing the chronic condition
- Diet (a healthy, well-balanced diet which involves plenty of fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean meats)
- Physical activity
- Avoiding alcohol and drugs