Guide to Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease or (chronic renal) failure is the slow, gradual and progressive failure of kidney function. The biggest cause is old age but it may also be due to many other factors.
A damaged blood supply, arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), infections, poisons (including some long-term medications) and other rarer diseases can all cause chronic kidney failure.
Chronic Kidney Disease Symptoms
The slow and progressive nature of the disease means it may not be detected until symptoms of the disease is already well advanced. The most common symptoms are: weakness, tiredness, nausea, weight loss, headaches and passing urine more frequently.
In more advanced cases itchiness, vomiting, high blood pressure and anemia are indicators.
High Risk Groups
Because of the slow, progressive and difficult to recognize nature of CKD if you are in a high-risk group it’s important that you are regularly monitored for chronic renal disease.
- People with high blood pressure
- Individuals with diabetes
- If you take toxic drugs (such as lithium, calcineurin inhibitors and regular use of painkillers)
- People who have coronary heart disease, have had a stroke or other problems associated with the heart, arteries and veins
- Anyone with kidney stones
- If you have a family history of chronic renal failure
- People with auto-immune diseases such as lupus erythematosus that may affect the kidneys
- If you have blood or protein in the urine for no known reason
Diagnosis and Treatment for Chronic Kidney Disease
Diagnosis of Chronic Kidney Disease (sometimes referred to as CKD) is made through a combination of blood tests, urine tests and by monitoring glomerular filtration rates. This is a measurement of how much waste fluid your kidneys can filter from your blood in a minute.
Kidney scans (MRI scans and ultra-sound) may also be used to check for signs of blockages caused by kidney stones or if the kidney is uneven or has shrunken in size.
It is necessary to treat chronic renal disease and adhere to a strict, low-protein kidney disease diet as well as keeping control of much fluid is drunk. Unless the cause can be corrected, long term treatment using dialysis or a kidney transplant is necessary.
For information on a specific kidney disease diet: Click Here (leads to an external site)