Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is characterized by progressive loss of kidney function over a period of time. The kidneys filter toxins and waste out of the body, and over time CKD can cause fluid, electrolytes, and waste to build up in the body. CKD increases the risk for heart disease and blood vessel disease. Early detection of CKD is important to properly treat all symptoms and to prolong kidney function. Individuals with advanced CKD may require dialysis or kidney transplant. Some people with early CKD may have few or no symptoms. CKD is measured in stages 1 through 5, with 1 being the mildest and 5 being the worst.
CKD is typically caused by underlying conditions, mostly diabetes and high blood pressure. CKD can also be caused by inflammation of the kidneys, polycystic kidney disease, obstruction of the urinary tract, urine backup into the kidneys, pyelonephritis, immune diseases such as Lupus, heart disease, and repeating UTIs. Risk factors for CKD include smoking, obesity, family history of kidney disease, genetic kidney defects/abnormalities, or being over the age of 60.
Symptoms of CKD include:
Nausea and vomiting
Feet and ankle swelling
Changes in urination/urinary frequency
Chest pain and shortness of breath
High blood pressure
Loss of appetite
Puffiness around the eyes
Dry or itchy skin
While there is no formal cure for CKD, measures can be taken to treat symptoms and slow disease progression. This often involves medication prescribed by a medical professional, controlling underlying conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, and eating a low protein and kidney-healthy diet. In extreme cases, dialysis or kidney transplant may be required.
To help prevent CKD, one should exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, limit alcohol consumption, avoid smoking, maintain a healthy weight, follow all instructions on over-the-counter medicine, see a doctor regularly, and follow treatment plans for all underlying conditions.
American Kidney Fund. (n.d.). Chronic kidney disease (CKD). https://www.kidneyfund.org/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/#symptoms-of-kidney-failure
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, February 07). Chronic kidney disease basics. https://www.cdc.gov/kidneydisease/basics.html
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2019, August 15). Chronic kidney disease. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-kidney-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20354521
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2017, June). What is chronic kidney disease? National Institutes of Health. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/kidney-disease/chronic-kidney-disease-ckd/what-is-chronic-kidney-disease
National Kidney Foundation. (2017, February 15). Chronic kidney disease (CKD) symptoms and causes. https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/about-chronic-kidney-disease#ckd