Chronic kidney disease is a serious medical condition. With proper diet, planning and treatments, however, it can be managed effectively. Still, it’s normal to have questions about CKD, since you would want to know the ins and outs of the diagnosis.
The following are some of the most common questions that patients ask their doctors about CKD.
What is chronic kidney disease?
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a progressive medical disorder in which the kidneys lose the ability to function properly. The condition typically comes on in five stages, and the advancement of stages varies between patients.
As the patient’s condition worsens, the ability of the kidneys to filter waste from the blood is lessened. In its final stage, known as end stage renal disease (ESRD), the patient requires dialysis or a kidney transplant in order to live.
What are the causes of CKD?
Most (about 2/3) of the cases of CKD in the U.S. are caused by two primary factors. The first is diabetes – as high blood sugar levels can be damaging to the kidneys over time. High blood pressure is the second, and when not treated, it can cause damage to your blood vessels…including those in the kidneys.
What are the symptoms of CKD?
Many chronic kidney disease suffers don’t have symptoms in the earlier stages. It can be a “silent” disorder until profound kidney damage has occurred.
Signs you may be suffering from CKD include high blood pressure, severe fatigue, loss of appetite, muscle cramps during rest, changes in amount of urine, sleep problems, swelling in the feet and ankles, and trouble concentrating.
How is CKD diagnosed?
Your doctor will begin by doing a personal and family health assessment. Your doctor will take note of your symptoms, and may ask if you suffer from high blood pressure. A physical exam is also performed, checking for signs of blood vessel issues.
To accurately diagnose chronic kidney disease, a series of tests may be given. These include a blood test to check the creatinine and urea levels in the blood, a urine test to check for abnormalities that may indicate CKD, and an ultrasound to check the kidneys’ size and structure.
Is there a cure for CKD?
While there is no cure for chronic kidney disease, there are treatments that can help you manage and treat the condition. The method of treatment prescribed to you by your doctor will depend on the underlying cause of the CKD.
You may be given medicine to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and swelling. It’s also common to be placed on a renal diet that is low in protein when you are suffering from CKD. Lower levels of protein allow your kidneys a break from working so hard to filter wastes.
What happens in the final stage of CKD?
If you progress to the last stage of the condition, known as end stage renal disease (ESRD), your kidneys have reached complete and permanent failure in working for your body. The result may require dialysis, which is the process of using a machine to remove wastes and fluids from the blood.
A kidney transplant may also be an option for some patients with ESRD. You will also need to take medication with a kidney transplant, to prevent your body from rejecting the organ.
Hopefully these common questions about chronic kidney disease shed some light on the condition for you. As always, consult with your doctor or read through the rest of our blog here if you need more information!
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Also published on Medium.