Chronic kidney disease is a slow, progressive loss of kidney function over several years. It is a common disease that affects about 1 in 7 adults. Eventually, a person can develop kidney failure. As kidney disease progresses, dangerous levels of waste products can quickly build up in the body. Treatment aims to stop or slow the progression of kidney dysfunction by controlling the underlying cause. Read on to learn more about CKD, including its causes, symptoms, and treatments.
- 1 Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease
- 2 What is IRC?
- 3 How to recognize IRC
- 4 Treating Symptoms and Side Effects
- 5 Main causes of chronic kidney failure
- 6 Risk factors
- 7 Prevention and management
Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease
People who are at high risk of developing CRF should have regular kidney function checks. Early detection can help prevent serious kidney damage.
What is IRC?
CKD is a slow, progressive disease that leads to kidney dysfunction. However, if one kidney stops working properly, the other can still perform normal functions. A kidney can deteriorate to a certain level of dysfunction and not get worse. Sometimes, however, the condition can progress to kidney failure. Most people with CKD don’t know it because symptoms usually don’t show up in the early stages of the disease. In general, when a person notices symptoms, the disease is at an advanced stage. At this stage, kidney damage is irreversible.
How to recognize IRC
The symptoms of CKD are as follows:
– hypertension, or high blood pressure
– edema, or swelling of the feet, hands and ankles
– fatigue, or weariness
– decrease in urine output
– bloody urine, in some cases
– dark urine, in some cases
– a decrease in mental alertness, when the condition is serious
– loss of appetite
– persistent itching of the skin, when the condition is severe
– more frequent urination, especially at night, in some cases.
Treating Symptoms and Side Effects
Damage to the kidneys of a person with CKD is usually permanent. However, certain treatments can help control symptoms, reduce the risk of complications, and slow the progression of the condition.
Here are some of the conditions caused by CKD that require treatment.
High blood pressure
High blood pressure can be the cause or a symptom of CKD. It is important to lower blood pressure to protect the kidneys and subsequently slow the progression of CKD. A person with high blood pressure may need to take certain medications. Also, lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating and regular exercise, can help lower a person’s blood pressure.
Hemoglobin is the substance in red blood cells that carries vital oxygen around the body. If the hemoglobin level is low, the person is probably anemic.
Injections of erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) are the most common treatment for CKD and anemia. ESAs mimic the protein erythropoietin, which is secreted by the kidneys to stimulate red blood cell production.
The body of people with kidney disease may not be able to properly eliminate phosphate. Treatment consists of reducing the intake of nutritional phosphate. This usually means a reduction in the consumption of dairy products, red meat, eggs and fish.
Itching is a common problem in people with advanced stages of CKD or who have kidney failure and are on dialysis. The itching can be difficult to control, and a person may find they have trouble sleeping. A person can try talking about their itching to a dermatologist. The dermatologist can provide the person with medication or moisturizers to help reduce the itching.
Vitamin D deficiency
People with CKD are at high risk for vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is essential for bone health. The kidneys activate vitamin D obtained from sunlight or food before the body can use it. Low levels of vitamin D can lead to loss of bone density, which can lead to osteoporosis or fractures.
People with vitamin D deficiency may need supplementation. However, the evidence for its effectiveness is limited, so doctors usually decide based on the person’s needs and health status.
People with CKD should watch their fluid intake and limit their salt intake. If the kidneys are not functioning properly, a person is much more likely to accumulate and overload fluids. Consuming a large amount of salt can also cause the body to retain even more fluid. Fluid retention due to sodium can lead to hypertension, which can lead to the progression of kidney disease and serious heart problems.
Following a proper diet is an essential part of treating kidney failure. Restricting the amount of protein in the diet can help slow the progression of the condition, as excessive protein consumption can lead to kidney overload. However, the specific amount of protein a person should consume depends on their height, general health, and exercise regimen. A doctor or dietitian should be consulted for the best sources of protein and how much to consume. A change in diet can also help ease the symptoms of nausea. A person with hypertension must carefully control their salt intake to control hypertension. A person may also need to limit potassium and phosphorus, as they can be dangerous for people with CKD.
Dialysis is the mechanical removal of excess waste and fluid from the blood when the kidneys can no longer perform this function. Dialysis carries serious risks, including infection.
Main causes of chronic kidney failure
The kidneys ensure the complex filtration system of our body. It involves removing waste and excess fluids from the blood and excreting them from the body.
The kidneys filter toxins and waste from a person’s blood. However, problems can arise:
– if the blood flow does not reach the kidneys properly
– if the kidneys are not working properly due to injury or disease
– if an obstruction prevents the flow of urine
CKD is often the result of diabetes or hypertension.
When a person has uncontrolled diabetes, sugar (glucose) builds up in the blood and can damage the kidneys. High blood pressure, on the other hand, can damage the glomeruli. These are parts of the kidney that filter out waste.
Most causes of CKD are also risk factors for this disease. Besides diabetes and high blood pressure, the risk factors are:
– have a family history of kidney disease
– be older, as CKD is much more common in people over 60
– have heart disease
– have suffered previous kidney damage.
Prevention and management
Certain diseases, such as diabetes, increase the risk of CKD. Controlling diabetes can reduce the risk of developing kidney failure. Affected individuals should follow their doctor’s instructions, advice and recommendations.
A healthy diet can help a person lower their blood pressure. Some heart-healthy foods include:
– fruits and vegetables
– whole grains
– lean meats
Engaging in regular physical activity is great for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. It also helps control chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. People should consult a doctor to find out if an exercise program is suitable for their age, weight and medical condition.
Avoid certain substances
Excessive alcohol and drug use, as well as long-term exposure to heavy metals like lead, fuels, solvents, and other toxic chemicals can contribute to kidney disease.
Concerned people should see a doctor for testing. Adopting a healthy lifestyle by following a diet and exercising can help prevent CKD.
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