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Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease means you have a condition that damages your kidneys. This decreases your kidneys ability to keep you healthy by not doing the job properly. The two main causes of chronic kidney disease are Diabetes Mellitus and high Blood Pressure. Diabetes occurs when your blood sugar is too high, causing damage to many organs in your body, including the kidneys and heart as well as blood vessels, eyes and nerves. High blood pressure or hypertension occurs when the pressure of your blood against the walls of your blood vessels increases. If uncontrolled or poorly controlled,  high blood pressure can be a leading cause of chronic kidney disease, heart attacks and strokes. Chronic kidney disease can also cause high blood pressure. Many other conditions can harm the kidneys. These include:

  1. Glomerulonephritis a disease that causes inflammation in the kidneys
  2. Inherited diseases like polycystic kidney disease which causes many cysts to form in the kidneys.

If chronic kidney disease gets worse, waste products and fluid may build to high levels in your blood and make you feel sick. You may get other problems like high blood pressure, anemia, weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage. Anemia is a short supply of red blood cells in the body, which can make you feel tired and have little energy. Chronic kidney disease also increases your risk of having heart and blood vessel disease.

Chronic kidney disease may progress slowly over a long time. In fact many people don’t even know they have kidney disease until it is severe. If it is found and treated early, chronic kidney disease may often be slowed down or stopped. It it keeps getting worse, however chronic kidney disease may lead to permanent  kidney failure. This means your kidneys no longer work well enough to maintain life and you need a treatment like dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Are you at increased risk for chronic kidney Disease?

Your doctor will investigate if you have any risk factors for chronic kidney disease.

These include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Family history of chronic kidney disease
  • Old age

What should I do?

You should visit your doctor or clinic and get tested. Your checkup should include:

Checking your blood pressure

Having a simple test for protein in your urine. Protein is an important building block in your body. Any filtered protein is normally reabsorbed and kept in your body. When your kidneys are damaged, however protein leaks into your urine. There are different tests to find protein in your urine. If you have two positive tests over several weeks you are said to have persistent protein in your urine. This is a sign of chronic kidney disease.

Having a simple blood test for creatinine, a waste product that comes from nuscle activity. Your kidneys normally remove creatinine  from your blood. When your kidneys are damaged, however your blood creatinine  build to a high level. The results of your blood creatinine test should be used to estimate your glomerular filtration rate or GFR. Your GFR tells how much kidney function you have.

Symptoms of Disease

Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease?

Most people do not have any severe symptoms until their kidney disease gets worse. However you may:
· Have muscle cramps at night
· Have swollen feet and ankles
· Have puffiness around your eyes, especially in the morning
· Feel more tired
· Have less energy
· Have trouble thinking clearly
· Have a poor appetite
· Have trouble sleeping
· Have dry, itchy skin
· Need to urinate more often, especially at night.

If at increased risk but not yet have chronic kidney Disease?

You should visit your doctor or clinic for regular checkups and tests for chronic kidney disease. You should also ask your doctor what you can do to lower your chances of developing kidney disease. Your doctor may tell you to:
· Carefully follow prescribed treatments to control diabetes and high blood pressure
· Lose excess weight by following a healthy diet and regular exercise program
· Stop smoking if you are a smoker
· Avoid taking pain relievers
· Make some changes in your diet, such as eating less salt and less protein.
· Limit your intake of alcohol

If i have chronic kidney disease, can i keep it from getting worse?

Most likely Early detection and treatment can often slow or stop chronic kidney disease. How well your treatment can achieve this goal depends on:

  1. Your stage of chronic kidney disease when you start treatment. The earlier you start, the better you are likely to do.
  2. How carefully you follow your treatment plan. Learn all you can about chronic kidney disease and its treatment and make sure to follow all the steps of your treatment faithfully.
  3. The cause of your kidney disease. Some kidney diseases are more difficult to control.

What happens if kidney failure occurs?

If chronic kidney disease gets worse and kidney failure occurs, two successful treatments can be done (dialysis or a kidney transplant). These treatments can help you stay healthy and continue your daily activities. Dialysis is a type of treatment that removes wastes and excess fluid from your blood.  Two forms of dialysis may be done i.e. haemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. A kidney transplant is an operation to place a new kidney in your body to take over the work of your failed kidneys. The kidney may come from someone who has died or from a living donor (close relative).