Chronic Kidney Disease
CKD, or chronic kidney disease, involves a gradual loss of kidney function. It is a serious medical condition that affects millions worldwide. If you have signs or symptoms of kidney disease, early detection might help prevent it from progressing to kidney failure.
What is Chronic Kidney Disease?
Chronic kidney disease is when your kidneys are damaged and can’t filter wastes and excess fluids from your blood, which are removed in your urine. When CKD has advanced, it can cause dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes to build up in your body.
What Causes Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)?
Many different factors can cause CKD, but some of the most common causes are:
- Diabetes: High blood sugar levels can damage your kidneys over time.
- High blood pressure: Uncontrolled hypertension can damage your blood vessels, including those in your kidneys.
- Glomerulonephritis: This type of kidney disease involves damage to the glomeruli (tiny filters) inside your kidneys that filter blood.
- Polycystic kidney disease: This genetic condition causes cysts to form in your kidneys and leads to damage over time.
- Certain medications: Some medications, such as painkillers and antibiotics, can damage your kidneys if taken over a long period.
What are the Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease?
In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, you might not realize that you have a problem until the condition has advanced. Common symptoms include the following:
- Fatigue and weakness
- Swelling in your legs, ankles, or feet
- Poor appetite
- Trouble sleeping
- Muscle cramps or twitches
- Itchy skin
- Nausea and vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- High blood pressure
Schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible if you have any of these symptoms.
How is Chronic Kidney Disease Treated?
There is no cure for CKD. However, several treatment options are available to help slow down the progression of the disease and manage your symptoms:
- Medications: Your doctor may prescribe medications to help control your blood pressure, reduce swelling, or treat anemia.
- Diet changes: Your doctor may recommend that you follow a diet low in protein, sodium, and potassium to help reduce the workload on your kidneys.
- Exercise: Regular exercise can help improve overall health and lower the risk of complications associated with CKD.
- Dialysis: If your kidneys are not functioning well enough to remove waste and excess fluid from your body, your doctor may recommend dialysis. This procedure uses a machine to filter your blood.
- Kidney transplant: A transplant may be necessary if your kidneys are severely damaged. This involves surgically replacing your damaged kidneys with a healthy kidney from a donor.
Chronic Kidney Disease is a serious medical condition that requires prompt medical attention. With proper treatment and management, many people with CKD can live full and healthy lives.
If you are experiencing symptoms of chronic kidney disease or have risk factors such as diabetes or high blood pressure, schedule an appointment with our Nephrology and Hypertension team at SMC Physicians for early detection and appropriate management. Taking proactive steps can help slow down the progression of the disease and improve your overall quality of life.
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