Kidney disease, also known as renal disease, is a serious condition affecting millions worldwide. It is a condition where the kidneys cannot function properly, leading to a buildup of waste products in the body that can cause serious health problems.
Causes of Kidney Disease
There are several causes of kidney disease. One of the most common is high blood pressure, which can damage the small blood vessels in the kidneys over time. Diabetes is another common cause of kidney disease, as high blood sugar levels can damage the kidneys’ filtering system. Other causes of kidney disease include infections, autoimmune diseases, and genetic disorders.
Signs and Symptoms
In the early stages of kidney disease, there may be no symptoms. However, as the disease progresses, there may be several signs and symptoms, including:
- Swelling in the legs, ankles, or feet
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Itching and dry skin
- Muscle cramps
- Shortness of breath
Kidney disease is diagnosed through a combination of blood and urine tests. These tests can help determine the levels of waste products in the body and how well the kidneys function. Other tests may include imaging tests, such as ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and/or computerized tomography (CT) scans, to look for problems with the size and structure of your kidneys.
Sometimes, a kidney biopsy may be necessary to determine the cause of the kidney damage. In this procedure, performed using local anesthesia, a piece of your kidney tissue is removed and examined.
The treatment options for kidney disease depend on the severity of the condition. In the early stages, lifestyle changes may be enough to slow down the progression of the disease. These lifestyle changes include:
- Eating a healthy diet low in salt and fat
- Exercising regularly
- Stopping smoking
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Controlling blood sugar and blood pressure levels
In more advanced cases of kidney disease, medication may be necessary to control blood pressure and reduce the buildup of waste products in the body. In some cases, dialysis or a kidney transplant may be necessary.
What Is Kidney Dialysis?
Dialysis is a procedure that uses machines to remove waste products from your body when your kidneys can no longer perform this function. There are two main types of dialysis – hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.
With hemodialysis, your blood is circulated through a machine that removes waste products, excess water, and excess salt. The blood is then returned to your body. The procedure requires three to four hours, three times a week, and is performed at a clinic, hospital, or dialysis center.
In peritoneal dialysis, a dialysis solution is run directly into your abdomen. The solution absorbs waste and is then removed with a catheter. Fresh solution is added to continue the cleaning process. You can perform this type of dialysis yourself.
By making lifestyle changes and working with a healthcare provider, it is possible to manage kidney disease and improve your overall health and well-being.
If you are experiencing symptoms of kidney disease or have risk factors such as high blood pressure or diabetes, schedule an appointment with our Nephrology and Hypertension team at SMC Physicians today for a thorough evaluation and diagnosis. Early detection and treatment can help slow down the progression of the disease and prevent complications.
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