Chronic Kidney Disease(CKD) Causes And Treatment

Kidney Disease
Kidney Disease

Kidney disease (also known as renal disease) is a common term when the kidneys are damaged and don’t function as they should function. Everyone has two kidneys, one on either side of the backbone. Each kidney has the size of a closed fist. The main function of the kidney is to filter blood to remove waste from the body. As well, kidney helps in controlling blood pressure, produces red blood cells, and keep bones strong.

In the early stages of chronic kidney disease(renal disease), one may experience a few signs or symptoms. Chronic kidney disease may not become apparent until the kidney function is significantly damaged. When kidneys are damaged, waste products and fluid can build up in the body, that could cause swelling in ankles, vomiting, weakness, stress, and breathing problem. Without treatment of kidney, the damage could get worse, and the kidneys may stop working.

What is Chronic Kidney Disease(CKD):

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a condition characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over a passage of time. Chronic kidney disease includes conditions that damage the kidney and decreases their capability to keep you healthy by doing the jobs as designated. If kidney disease gets worse, wastes will start to build at high levels in your blood and make you feel sick. 

You may develop complications with time, like high blood pressure, anemia (low blood count), weak bones, poor nutritional health, and nerve damage. Also, kidney disease gradually increases the risk of having the heart. Early detection and proper treatment often keep chronic kidney disease(CDK) from getting worse. When kidney disease starts developing, might eventually lead to kidney failure, and the most possible medication would be dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.

Around 175,000 new people suffer from kidney failure (stage 5 CKD) every year in India and need immediate dialysis and/or kidney transplantation. It has also been estimated that around 60% to 75% of CKD cases are directly linked to diabetes and hypertension.

According to Associate Director of Nephrology, Kidney and Urology Institute Medanta, "CKD causes around 2.39% of all the deaths due to non-communicable diseases. It is the ninth most probable cause of deaths, as per 2016 statistics.

Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease:


The two main agents of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure, which are responsible for up to two-thirds of the cases of CDK. But there are other reasons also which leads to kidney disease:

The main reasons for CKD are :

1. High blood pressure 

With the passage of time, high blood pressure can put enormous strain on the small blood vessels in the kidneys and stop the kidneys function.

2. Diabetes 

Diabetes occurs when the blood sugar in the body is too high, causing damage to many parts of the organs in your body, including the kidneys and heart, as well as blood vessels, nerves, and eyes. Too much blood sugar(blood glucose) in the blood can damage the tiny filters attached to the kidneys

3. High cholesterol  

High cholesterol causes to build-up fatty deposits in the blood vessels supplying to the kidneys, which can make it harder for kidneys to work properly. The main source of cholesterol is oily/ junk food.

4. Kidney infections 

A kidney infection is a painful and unpleasant illness that is caused by cystitis, a common infection of the bladder.

5. Glomerulonephritis  

Kidney inflammation, a bunch of diseases that causes inflammation and damage to the kidney's filtering system. These dysfunctions are considered to be the third most common type of kidney disease.

6. Polycystic kidney disease 

An inherited condition where there is unwanted growth called cysts develops in the kidneys and damage the surrounding tissues.

7. Blockages in the flow of urine  

Obstructions caused by problems like kidney stones or tumors or an enlarged prostate gland in men.

8. Long-term, regular use of certain medicines 

Might cause the disease to get prone to these medicines and they might not work properly. such as lithium and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease:

Signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease(CKD) develops over time if kidney damage progresses at a slower rate. Signs and symptoms of kidney disease may include:

1. Feeling more stressed and tired and have very less energy than usual.

2. Swollen feet and ankles.

3. Having trouble with sleeping.

4. Having trouble concentrating.

5. Urge of urination more than usual, especially at night.

6. Hard to swallow food leading to less appetite than usual.

7. Having muscle cramps at night during sleep

8. Dry, itchy skin.

Possible Treatment for CKD:

100% cure for CKD is not possible yet, but treatment might help reduce the symptoms and stop it from getting worse. Treatment of CKD depends on how severe the kidney disease is.

The possible treatments are:

1. change of lifestyle to ensure you remain as healthy as possible and prevention from deep fried food or fast food.

2. Alternative medications to control associated problems such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol and diabetes

3. Dialysis: Treatment to replicate some of the function of the kidney; this might be necessary for advanced CKD(as suggested by a doctor)

4. Kidney transplant: This is considered to be the last option for CKD patients and is necessary for advanced CKD(under the supervision of senior doctors).

With the above treatments, it's also be advised to have regular check-ups to monitor the condition of the kidney.

Test for CKD:

1. Blood test: 

The main test for kidney disease is "blood test" for sure, it accurately measures how well the kidney is working. The test accurately measures the levels of a waste product called "creatinine" in your blood.

This measurement is known as the body's estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR).

Healthy kidneys must be capable of filtering more than 90ml/min. You might have kidney disease if the result is lower than 90ml/ min.

2. Urine test: 

Urine tests checks for the levels of chemicals called albumin and creatinine in your urine – known as ACR (albumin: creatinine ratio), it also checks for the blood or protein in your urine

Along with your eGFR measurement, urine test helps to give a more accurate picture of how well your kidneys are working.

3. Ultrasound, MRI, ct scan: 

These tests also help in determining the level of functioning of the kidney.

Stages of chronic kidney disease:

CKD is divided into 5 stages based on the level of kidney function. The test is measured by a blood test(also called eGFR).

1. Stage 1: Minimal loss of kidney function.                                         

    eGFRmeasurement(ml/min) : 90-120

2. Stage 2: Moderate to severe loss of kidney function.                                      
    eGFRmeasurement(ml/min) :  60-89 

3. Stage 3: Moderate to severe loss of kidney function.                                        
     eGFRmeasurement(ml/min) : 30-59 

4. Stage 4: Severe loss of kidney function.                                           

     eGFRmeasurement(ml/min) : 16-29

5. Stage 5: Kidney failure or need for a kidney transplant.                                 
    eGFRmeasurement(ml/min) : 15 or less                                                   


Prevention from CKD:

1. Take your medication properly:

It's very important for a person suffering from CKD to take prescribed medication, even if you don't feel unwell. Some medicines are designed to prevent serious problems occurring in the future like kidney failure.

2. Have a healthy diet:

A healthy and balanced diet can help improve your kidneys healthy and reduce the risk of developing further problems in the future. the key point is to avoid fried food and fast foods.

3. Exercise regularly:

The regular physical activity could also help in improving your health.

Exercise is good for anyone with kidney disease, exercise Not only will boost your energy, help you sleep, strengthen your bones and keep you fit, it may also reduce the risk of problems such as heart disease.

If your condition is at the advanced stage or you're already on dialysis, then the ability to exercise is likely to get reduced, and you may feel tired and breathless more quickly.

4. Stop Smoking: 

Smoking leads to excess pressure on kidney due to which risk of kidney failure increases. Also during kidney disease, the ability of the kidney to filter the cigarette smoke might reduce which will lead to degradation of your overall health.

5. Manage your health: 

Manage your medical conditions with your doctor's help. If you have diseases or conditions that increase your risk of kidney disease, work with your doctor to control them. Ask your doctor about tests to look for signs of kidney damage.

Dietary guidelines:

1. Salt is the major cause of CDK, salt is riched with sodium which leads to high blood pressure and heart diseases. Restrict the daily intake of salt in your diet. Avoid adding salt after cooking- the lesser the better.

2. During CDK, it's suggested to reduce the intake of Protein as high protein food causes faster disease progression and builds up excess Urea. But don't completely restrict the intake of protein as protein is essential for the muscle to build up and growth. So consume only that much which will make you healthy.

3. Higher Potassium levels can be a threat to CDK patients. Very high level of potassium can cause cardiac arrest. So, consult a doctor and set daily potassium consumption limit for a healthy kidney.

4. Phosphorus levels might also be high for CDK patients. It also needs to be controlled. Excess of Phosphorus in the body causes total kidney failure, bone diseases, heart ailments. 

5. Calcium is another concern for kidney patients, causing serious bone diseases in future if not controlled at the right time.

6. Fluid intake must also be monitored regularly. However, do not restrict fluid intake rigorously unless having serious fluid overload problem. Drink water when thirsty.

Chronic Kidney Disease(CKD) Causes And Treatment Chronic Kidney Disease(CKD) Causes And Treatment Reviewed by Piyush Narayan on September 13, 2018 Rating: 5

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