Chronic Kidney Disease

What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?

The kidneys are the organs responsible for filtering wastes and excess fluid from your blood and excreting them through urine. When they gradually lose their function to excrete wastes, it is known as chronic kidney failure. When the kidneys stop working, different wastes and electrolytes start building up in your bloodstream which can cause severe symptoms. The two main causes of CKD are uncontrolled high blood pressure and diabetes. 

What are complications of Chronic Kidney Disease

  • Stroke or heart attack
  • High blood pressure can be both a cause and a complication of CKD
  • Anemia 
  • Diminished immune response 

For more complications please click here

What are the symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease?

  • Changes in the amount of urine
  • Muscle twitching or cramps
  • Swelling of lower extremities
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Persistent itching
  • Sleep issues

What are the Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease?

  • Stage 1: GFR ≥ 90
  • Stage 2: GFR 60-89
  • Stage 3: GFR 30-59
  • Stage 4: GFR 15-29
  • Stage 5: GFR <15

For more details about staging please follow this link

How is Chronic Kidney Disease diagnosed?

Having diabetes or high blood pressure puts you at risk for CKD. Therefore, testing for CKD is recommended at least once a year in these populations. To check how well your kidneys are doing their jobs, healthcare providers send a test called glomerular filtration rate (GFR). The normal range for GFR is >90. Less than this means you have kidney disease and a GFR less than 15 means you are in kidney failure. You can also be tested for creatinine, which is a waste product from muscle breakdown.  This waste is supposed to be excreted by your kidneys. Therefore, the higher the creatinine the worse your kidneys are working. 

Your urine can be tested for albumin, which is a protein usually found in the blood. Normally, due to its size, albumin should not be present in urine if the kidneys are working as they are supposed to. The presence of protein or albumin means your kidneys are damaged and they are not doing the filtration they are supposed to. 

How is Chronic Kidney Disease treated?

CKD has no cure, but symptoms and possible complications can be managed. Future complications can be managed by giving high blood pressure medications, medications to lower your cholesterol level, and more. End-stage kidney disease or stage 5 kidney disease is usually treated with dialysis or a kidney transplant. Dialysis is the process of removing the waste products from your blood by the use of a special machine

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