Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease is a disease of the kidneys that causes them to gradually function less and less. Since the kidney’s function is to remove waste and water from the body, this can cause a host of complications. Chronic kidney disease is something that is going to continue getting worse over time without proper treatment.


Chronic kidney disease doesn’t have a specific cause but there are some risk factors. Certain medical conditions can lead to damage to kidneys and ultimately chronic kidney disease including high blood pressure, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, birth defects like polycystic kidney disease, toxic chemicals, glomerulonephritis, injury or trauma, kidney stones and kidney infection, issues with your arteries leading to the kidneys, certain pain medications or cancer drugs, other types of kidney diseases, and reflux nephropathy.


It can be hard to diagnose chronic kidney disease in the beginning because the disease comes on gradually and most symptoms in the beginning are similar to other medical conditions. Symptoms include unexplained weight loss, headaches, dry or itchy skin, nausea, loss of appetite, fatigue and feeling overly ill. As the disease progresses, signs and symptoms include bone pain, darker or lighter skin pigment, confusion, drowsiness, problems concentrating, numbness in the hands or feet, muscle twitching, muscle cramps, bad breath, easily bruising skin, bleeding easily, excessive thirst, frequent hiccups, lack of menstrual periods, impotence or lack of sexual desire, shortness of breath, restless leg syndrome or insomnia, swelling of the feet and hands, and vomiting.


One of the signs often triggering the desire for testing is extremely high blood pressure. There might also be other tests such as a nervous system exam, urinalysis, creatinine clearance, creatinine levels, and a BUN test. When someone has been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, there are other tests than need to be done every few months to monitor the disease including their albumin, calcium, cholesterol, complete blood count, magnesium, phosphorous, electrolytes, potassium, sodium, abdominal MRI, CT scan or ultrasound, kidney biopsy, kidney scan and kidney ultrasound.


The first step of treatment for chronic kidney disease is to slow the progression of the disease by controlling blood pressure. Other treatments include certain medications to control the side effects and ways of controlling anemia and other associated medical conditions. To protect the kidneys if you have chronic kidney disease and prevent stroke or heart disease, you will be advised to stop smoking, eat a healthy diet with low-fat and low-cholesterol foods, get regular exercise, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, possibly lake cholesterol medications, keep your blood sugar at a normal level and avoid eating high levels of potassium or salt.

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