Chronic kidney disease, also known as chronic renal disease or CKD, is a condition characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time. It includes conditions that damage your kidneys and reduce their ability to keep you healthy by filtering out wastes and excessive fluids from your blood which are then removed in your urine. If kidney disease worsens, wastes can build to high levels in your blood and make you feel sick.
Signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease develop over time if kidney damage progresses slowly. Depending upon the severity, symptoms of kidney disease may include:
Chronic kidney disease develops when a disease or condition harms kidney function, causing kidney damage to worsen over several months or years. Diabetes and high blood pressure, or hypertension, are responsible for two-thirds of chronic kidney disease cases. Other diseases and conditions that cause chronic kidney disease include:
Factors that can increase your risk of developing chronic kidney disease include:
Chronic kidney disease can affect nearly all parts of your body. Some of the complications of chronic kidney disease include:
As the first step towards diagnosis of kidney disease, your medical provider discusses your personal and family medical history with you. In addition to other things, your provider might inquire about whether you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, if you have taken any medication that might impair kidney function, if you have noticed changes in your urinary habits and whether you have family members who are suffering with kidney disease.
Your healthcare provider will perform blood tests, a urine test and will also check your blood pressure to determine how severe your kidney disease is. Tests might include:
Treatment for chronic kidney disease focuses on slowing the progression of kidney damage, usually by controlling the cause. Though some types of kidney disease can be treated but, chronic kidney disease has no cure. In such cases, even controlling the cause might not keep kidney damage from progressing. Chronic kidney disease can progress to end-stage kidney failure, which is fatal without artificial filtering (dialysis) or a kidney transplant.
Depending on the cause of your kidney disease, you provider may prescribe one or more medications. These medications may include:
Your provider might recommend regular follow-up testing and check-ups to see whether your kidney disease remains stable or progresses.
Regular check-up with your provider throughout your life is a healthy way of preventing kidney disease. One in every three people in the United States is at risk for kidney disease. Following lifestyle modifications may help prevent it:
If you are diagnosed with kidney disease, you can still live a productive home, work life, and enjoy time with your family and friends. To have the best outcome possible, it is important for you to actively take part in your treatment team.
Early detection and appropriate treatment are important in slowing the disease progression, with the goal of preventing or delaying kidney failure. You will need to keep up with your medical appointments, take your medications as prescribed, eat a healthy diet, monitor your blood pressure, and blood sugar level.