Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
Patients with chronic kidney disease have chronic kidney failure, which describes the gradual loss of kidney function. Once the kidney disease reaches an advanced stage, the levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes that are built up in the body can be dangerous. Patients with chronic kidney disease at an early stage may have few signs or symptoms, but more serious signs can be obvious once the kidney function is seriously impaired. Most treatments focus on slowing the progression of kidney damage.
What are the signs and symptoms of those with chronic kidney disease?
Patients with chronic kidney disease may have these signs and symptoms:
- Feeling of sickness with an inclination to vomit
- Forcible emptying of the stomach
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue and weakness
- Experiencing sleep disorders
- Having changes in urine quantity
- Having low mental acuity
- Having twitched muscles and cramps
- Having swollen feet and ankles
- Having continual itching
- Having chest pain once fluid builds up around the lining of the heart
- Experiencing shortness of breath once fluid builds up in the lungs
- Having uncontrollable hypertension
The signs or symptoms are usually nonspecific as other illnesses may cause them. Some signs and symptoms appear due to the irreversible damage that has occurred.
When to see your doctor
If you have signs and symptoms of kidney disease, make an appointment with your doctor. If you have some underlying conditions that may increase your risk of kidney disease, your doctor may need to monitor your blood pressure and kidney function with urine tests as well as blood tests.
What are the causes of chronic kidney disease?
When kidney function begins to impair, chronic kidney disease can occur. Moreover, kidney damage can worsen over time if not treated. Causes of chronic kidney disease can be:
- Diabetes both Type 1 and Type 2
- Inflamation of kidney’s filtering units
- Inflamation of kidney’s tubules and surrounding structures
- The disorder that affects the kidneys and other organs
- Continual obstruction in the urinary tract due to various conditions such as enlarged prostate, kidney stones as well as some cancers
- The flow of urine goes back up into kidneys.
- Infection recurrence in kidneys
What are the risk factors that develop chronic kidney disease?
Various risk factors develop chronic kidney disease, such as:
High blood sugar
- Cardiovascular disease
- Smoking cigarettes and tobaccos
- Irregular structure of the kidney
- Older age
How do doctors diagnose chronic kidney disease?
Your doctor will ask a series of questions, especially about your personal and family history. Moreover, the doctor may ask if you have hypertension, or if you are on some medication that affects your kidney function, or if you have seen any changes in your urine habits.
Then, your doctor will ask you to undergo some tests, such as:
- Blood tests
- Urine tests
- Imaging tests
- Kidney biopsy
How do doctors treat your chronic kidney disease?
Some types of kidney disease can be treated; however, chronic kidney disease has no cure. If you have chronic kidney disease, your doctor tends to opt for treatments that help reduce complications and slow the progression of the disease.
When treating complications, your doctor may opt for the following treatments:
- Medications that treat hypertension
- Medications that reduce cholesterol levels
- Medications that treat anaemia
- Medications that alleviate swelling
- Medications that protect your bones
- Diets with lower protein to minimize waste products in blood
You will also need to have follow-up appointments with your doctors if you opt for these treatments.
If your kidney is at the end stage, your doctor may recommend:
- Kidney transplant
Potential future treatments
Regenerative medicine has the potential to completely heal damaged tissues and organs for those patients with conditions that are beyond repair.
Regenerative medicine may include:
- Stimulate your body to heal itself
- Replace the damaged cells, tissues or organs with those healthy ones from living or deceased donors
- Restore damaged cells or organs by regenerative medicine techniques
Regenerative medicine may be developed in the future to help slow the progress of the disease, especially those who have chronic kidney failure.