Chronic Kidney Disease

Also known as chronic kidney failure, chronic kidney disease is the loss of function of the kidneys over a long period of time. If the problem is not addressed earlier, then the patient may suffer permanent kidney failure, which is not reversible.

Chronic kidney disease can go undiagnosed for a long period of time due to the minimal symptoms it presents. It only becomes apparent when the symptoms become quite severe due to the impairment of the kidney functions.

Causes

  • High blood pressure
  • Polycystic kidney disease: This is a genetic condition that occurs as a result of cysts in both kidneys.
  • Diabetes: Type 1 or type 2
  • Obstruction of the urinary tract due to kidney stones, tumors, or enlarged prostate
  • Kidney stones: This is a very common kidney condition that occurs when substances in the blood form stones in the kidneys. These stones are usually passed out during urination.
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Genetics: History of kidney disease in the family
  • Aging

Symptoms

  • Low urine output
  • Blood in the urine
  • Persistently itchy skin
  • Tiredness
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • High blood pressure
  • Breathlessness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Muscle cramps

Chronic kidney disease is usually diagnosed through blood and urine tests, imaging, and through a biopsy.

Treatment:

At the moment, there is no one particular cure of chronic kidney disease, but there are treatment options for the symptoms. These include:

  • Taking an array of medications including antihistamines for itchy skin, iron supplements and blood transfusion for anemia, blood pressure medications, anti-nausea medications, and home remedies including a diet low in proteins and phosphates.
  • If the kidneys have reached the end-stage, which means they are functioning at less than 15% capacity, the patient would need to undergo routine dialysis (hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis), or a kidney transplant in order to live.
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