Chronic kidney disease is a long-term disease. This disease is characterized as when the kidneys are not functioning properly. It is relatively common to occur in elderly people, especially those who live in Asia.
Kidney disease can affect the body’s ability to wash and purify blood, filter excess fluids, and control blood pressure. This condition may also have an impact on the production of red blood cells and vitamin D required by your bones.
When a person has chronic kidney disease, the kidneys are not able to filter waste and excess fluid in the body, which is supposed to be excreted through urine. When chronic kidney disease progresses to the next stage, levels of electrolytes and hazardous waste accumulate in the body.
The build-up waste will cause swelling in the ankles, causing nausea, weakness, lack of sleep, and shortness of breath. If not treated immediately, the kidney condition will get worse until it completely stops working, leading to death.
Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease
Chronic kidney disease occurs when kidney function weakens and causes kidney damage, which will worsen after months or years.
There are other health conditions that can strain the kidneys and result in kidney damage. Common causes of chronic kidney disease are:
- High blood pressure can stretch the small blood vessels around the kidneys and lead to kidney function damage
- Diabetes, sugar levels in the body that are too high will affect the filtering ability of the kidneys
- High cholesterol, causes fat buildup in blood vessels that serve as suppliers to the kidneys, causing the kidneys to not function properly
- Infection and inflammation of the kidneys
- Blocked urine flow due to other conditions such as kidney stones, prostate enlargement, and others
- Long-term medications consumption, such as lithium or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
When to See a Doctor for Chronic Kidney Disease?
Patients with chronic kidney disease should consult a nephrologist or renal medicine specialist. The patient’s condition can be diagnosed through urine tests and blood tests.
In many cases, chronic kidney disease is only discovered when blood tests or urine tests are actually performed to detect other health diseases. Through these tests, it will be confirmed whether the patient’s kidneys are functioning normally or not.
The doctor may also ask the patient to undergo a series of further tests to determine the cause of chronic kidney disease. These tests include:
- Imaging tests. An ultrasound method to test or assess the structure and size of the kidneys.
- Kidney biopsy by taking a kidney sample from a patient. The sample from the biopsy will be tested in a laboratory to determine the cause of chronic kidney disease.
In addition to the examination, the doctor will also conduct medical interviews to find out the patient’s medical history, and whether the patient has diabetes or high blood pressure. That way, doctors can determine the right treatment to slow the progression of symptoms of chronic kidney disease.
Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease
Generally, kidney disease in its early stages does not cause symptoms. In many cases, the symptoms will only be felt after the kidney condition has gotten worse and reached a severe stage.
The symptoms of chronic kidney disease are very diverse and non-specific, as similar symptoms can also be caused by other types of diseases. Human kidneys are very adaptable and able to compensate for the damage to existing functions. This is why new symptoms will only be felt when permanent damage has occurred.
For some lucky patients, damage to the kidneys can be detected while doing urine or blood tests to detect other diseases.
When the kidney condition has worsened, there are a number of symptoms that may arise, such as:
- Muscle cramps.
- Shortness of breath.
- Bleeding while urinating.
- Easy tiring
- Erectile dysfunction in men.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Increased blood pressure that is difficult to control.
- Weight loss and loss of appetite.
- Increased urge to urinate, especially at night.
- Pain in the chest, as a result of fluid buildup around the heart.
- Swollen feet, hands, or ankles due to fluid buildup.
The above symptoms are also known as kidney failure conditions or end-stage kidney disease.
If chronic kidney disease occurs in a child, the child will experience symptoms of feeling tired and drowsy more easily than usual, as well as loss of appetite.
Treatment for Chronic Kidney Disease
There is no cure for chronic kidney disease. Treatment is done to prevent complications and slow down the deteriorating condition of the kidneys.
The treatment for chronic kidney disease varies, depending on the causes. The primary treatments may include:
- Changes in lifestyle. The doctor will ask patients to try their best to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.
- Medicines to control other diseases associated with kidney damage, such as cholesterol and high blood pressure.
- Dialysis, a treatment to replicate some of the kidney functions that may be required in advanced stage chronic kidney disease.
- Kidney transplants, performed for people with end-stage chronic kidney disease.
Apart from the above, doctors may also carry out treatments that aim to prevent complications or new diseases that arise due to past diseases. These treatments include:
- Medicines to lower high blood pressure. People with chronic kidney disease usually also experience an increase in high blood pressure.
- Medicines to treat anemia which function to produce red blood cells.
- Medicines to maintain or protect your bones. Medicines contain calcium and vitamin D to reduce the risk of fractures.
- Medicines to relieve swelling. Some people with chronic kidney disease experience swelling in the area of the feet, hands, or ankles.
Treatment Cost for Chronic Kidney Disease
The cost for Chronic Kidney Disease treatment varies, depending on the causes and treatment method chosen.
For more information regarding the estimated costs of Chronic Kidney Disease treatment, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Chronic Kidney Disease
Prevention of chronic kidney disease should focus on avoiding diseases that can trigger chronic kidney disease, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Both diseases are the most common factors behind chronic kidney disease.
One way to prevent this disease is by quitting smoking. The smoking habit is considered to increase a person’s potential for stroke or heart attack which may also lead to chronic kidney disease.
It is also recommended to inculcate a healthier lifestyle by eating healthier foods and drinks to maintain proportional body weight.
Be careful with the consumption of pain relievers. Pain relievers can harm your kidneys if not taken at appropriate doses.
Home Remedies for Patients Diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease
Home remedies for treating chronic kidney disease can be done by maintaining a healthy diet. It is recommended to eat healthy and nutritious foods, as well as to exercise regularly.
Additionally, it is also advisable to reduce alcohol consumption and stop smoking.