Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD – Part 1

Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD – What is it, what causes it and what are the symptoms?

Hello all,

Today we are talking about Chronic Kidney Disease or CKD. Some of the information I am going to share with you today may seem overwhelming and maybe even scary but I think it is important that you have all the facts.

Because this is a complex topic, I am going to break the information into a few separate articles. In this article we will talk about what CKD is, the main causes of CKD and the symptoms. I will cover risk factors, how to get tested, and the different stages of CKD in upcoming articles.

Remember, when you are well informed you can make good decisions about your health in partnership with your doctor.

What is CKD?

CKD includes conditions that damage your kidneys and decrease their ability to perform their vital function of filtering your blood. If kidney disease gets worse, wastes can build to high levels in your blood and make you feel sick. You may develop severe complications many of which may happen slowly over a long period of time.

 

Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse. When kidney disease progresses, it may eventually lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.

What causes CKD?

The two main causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure, which are responsible for up to two-thirds of the cases.

Diabetes is chronic illness where your blood sugar is too high. This causes damage to many organs in your body, including the kidneys and heart, as well as blood vessels, nerves and eyes.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when the pressure of your blood against the walls of your blood vessels increases. If uncontrolled, or poorly controlled, high blood pressure can be a leading cause of heart attacks, strokes and chronic kidney disease. Also, chronic kidney disease can cause high blood pressure.

Other conditions that affect the kidneys are:

  • Glomerulonephritis, a group of diseases that cause inflammation and damage to the kidney’s filtering units. These disorders are the third most common type of kidney disease
  • Inherited diseases, such as polycystic kidney disease, which causes large cysts to form in the kidneys and damage the surrounding tissue
  • Malformations that occur as a baby develops in its mother’s womb. For example, a narrowing may occur that prevents normal outflow of urine and causes urine to flow back up to the kidney. This causes infections and may damage the kidneys.
  • Lupus and other diseases that affect the body’s immune system.
  • Obstructions caused by problems like kidney stones, tumors or an enlarged prostate gland in men.
  • Repeated urinary infections.

What are the symptoms of CKD?

For many people severe symptoms don’t show up until their kidney disease is advanced. But you should watch for the following symptoms:

  • Feeling tired and with less energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Poor appetite
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Muscle cramping at night
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Puffiness around your eyes, especially in the morning
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • The need to urinate more often, especially at night

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please check with your doctor. Take a look at the next article on the risk factors for kidney disease.

Yours in good health

Dr. Christopher Brown

Link to video message:

 

 

References

Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-kidney-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20354521

National Kidney Foundation https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/about-chronic-kidney-disease

National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/professionals/clinical-tools-patient-education-outreach?au=pa&cs=nkdep

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