Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a long-term condition in which the kidneys are damaged and can no longer function properly. CKD is a progressive disease that can worsen over time if left untreated.
Symptoms of CKD
In the early stages of CKD, a person may not have any noticeable symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose. However, as the disease progresses, symptoms may become more apparent.
The kidneys play a vital role in filtering waste products and excess fluid from the blood, which are then eliminated from the body through urine.
When the kidneys are damaged, waste products and excess fluid can build up in the body, leading to various health problems. In addition to filtering waste and excess fluid, the kidneys also help regulate blood pressure and produce hormones that stimulate red blood cell production.
CKD is typically caused by kidney damage from underlying health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Other conditions that can lead to CKD include chronic infections, autoimmune diseases, and genetic disorders.
Stages of CKD
There are five stages of CKD, with stage 1 being the mildest and stage 5 being the most severe. In the early stages of CKD, there may be no noticeable symptoms. As the disease progresses, however, symptoms may include fatigue, nausea, vomiting, swelling in the legs or ankles, and changes in urination, such as increased frequency or decreased output. In some cases, CKD may also lead to high blood pressure, anemia, and bone loss.
Diagnosing CKD typically involves a combination of tests, including blood and urine tests, imaging tests, and a kidney biopsy. These tests can help determine the extent of damage to the kidneys and help healthcare providers develop a treatment plan.
Treatment for CKD
Treatment for CKD typically involves managing underlying health conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes, and making lifestyle changes, such as following a healthy diet and exercise program, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol consumption. In some cases, medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms or slow the progression of the disease.
Dialysis or a kidney transplant may be necessary for people with more advanced CKD. Dialysis involves using a machine to filter waste products and excess fluid from the blood, while a kidney transplant involves surgically replacing a damaged kidney with a healthy one from a donor.
Preventing CKD involves taking steps to manage underlying health conditions, such as controlling high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as following a healthy lifestyle. This can include eating a balanced diet, staying physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.