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You have two kidneys, each about the size of your fist. Their main job is to filter wastes and excess water out of your blood to make urine. They also keep the body's chemical balance, help control blood pressure, and make hormones.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) means that your kidneys are damaged and can't filter blood as they should. This damage can cause wastes to build up in your body. It can also cause other problems that can harm your health. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of CKD.

The kidney damage occurs slowly over many years. Many people don't have any symptoms until their kidney disease is very advanced. Blood and urine tests are the only way to know if you have kidney disease.

Treatment may include medicines to lower blood pressure, control blood glucose, and lower blood cholesterol. CKD can get worse over time. CKD may lead to kidney failure. The only treatment options for kidney failure are dialysis or a kidney transplantation.

You can take steps to keep your kidneys healthier longer:

  • Choose foods with less salt (sodium)
  • Keep your blood pressure below 130/80
  • Keep your blood glucose in the target range, if you have diabetes

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease

The following features are indicative of Chronic Kidney Disease:
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • mental sharpness
  • muscle twitches and cramps
  • swelling of feet
  • swelling of ankle
  • persistent itching
  • chest pain
  • shortness of breath
  • hypertension
It is possible that Chronic Kidney Disease shows no physical symptoms and still be present in a patient.
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Common Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease

The following are the most common causes of Chronic Kidney Disease:
  • type 1 diabetes
  • type 2 diabetes
  • high blood pressure
  • glomerulonephritis
  • interstitial nephritis
  • polycystic kidney disease
  • prolonged obstruction of the urinary tract

Other Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease

The following are the less common causes of Chronic Kidney Disease:
  • vesicoureteral reflux
  • recurrent kidney infections

Risk Factors for Chronic Kidney Disease

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Chronic Kidney Disease:
  • being diabetic
  • high blood pressure
  • cardiovascular disease
  • smoking
  • obesity
  • being African-American, Native American or Asian-American
  • family history of kidney disease
  • abnormal kidney structure
  • older age

Prevention of Chronic Kidney Disease

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Chronic Kidney Disease. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • controlling the blood pressure

Occurrence of Chronic Kidney Disease

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Chronic Kidney Disease cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Chronic Kidney Disease most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 35-50 years

Common Gender

Chronic Kidney Disease can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Chronic Kidney Disease

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Chronic Kidney Disease:
  • Blood tests: To look for the level of waste products such as creatinine and urea in the blood
  • Urine tests: To reveal abnormalities that point to chronic kidney failure and help identify the cause of chronic kidney disease
  • Imaging tests: To assess kidneys structure and size

Doctor for Diagnosis of Chronic Kidney Disease

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease:
  • Nephrologist

Complications of Chronic Kidney Disease if untreated

Yes, Chronic Kidney Disease causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Chronic Kidney Disease is left untreated:
  • pulmonary edema
  • hyperkalemia
  • cardiovascular disease
  • weak bones and an increased risk of bone fractures
  • anemia
  • decreased sex drive
  • erectile dysfunction
  • reduced fertility
  • damage to the central nervous system
  • decreased immune response
  • pericarditis
  • pregnancy complications
  • irreversible damage to the kidneys

Procedures for Treatment of Chronic Kidney Disease

The following procedures are used to treat Chronic Kidney Disease:
  • Dialysis: Removes the waste products and extra fluid from your blood
  • Kidney transplant: Surgically placing a healthy kidney from a donor into your body

Self-care for Chronic Kidney Disease

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Chronic Kidney Disease:
  • Avoid products with added salt: Lower the amount of sodium you eat each day
  • Choose lower potassium foods: Avoid them if you have kidney failure
  • Limit the amount of protein you eat: Take dietitian help to estimate the appropriate number of protein in your diet

Alternative Medicine for Treatment of Chronic Kidney Disease

The following alternate medicine and therapies are known to help in the treatment or management of Chronic Kidney Disease:
  • Use aromatherapy: Lessens the patient's discomfort following surgery

Patient Support for Treatment of Chronic Kidney Disease

The following actions may help Chronic Kidney Disease patients:
  • Connect with other people who have kidney disease: Makes you feel comfortable
  • Maintain your normal routine: Do the activities you enjoy and continuing to work
  • Talk with a person you trust: Talk about your feelings with your closed ones

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Chronic Kidney Disease.

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