What are the latest developments on Chronic Kidney Disease?
Kidneys play a crucial role in the body; they filter wastes and excess fluids from the bloodstream. However, their ability diminishes gradually over time in some cases. This is termed Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).
As your kidneys decline, waste products build up in your bloodstream, leading to unpleasant symptoms. We’re discussing conditions such as high blood pressure, anaemia, weakened bones, nerve damage and so on.
What Causes the Kidneys to Deteriorate?
The usual suspects are diabetes and high blood pressure. Approximately two-thirds of adults with diabetes and one-fifth of those with high blood pressure have CKD.
Other contributing factors include kidney inflammation, recurring infections, polycystic kidney disease, genetic predispositions, abnormal kidney structures, regular use of specific medications, and urinary tract obstructions from conditions like kidney stones, among others.
Who is at Higher Risk?
Individuals with diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease are at higher risk. Smokers, Obese, Native American, Asian American, and Hispanic populations also fall into this category.
As you age, the likelihood increases because kidney function naturally diminishes over time. A family history of kidney disease also poses an added risk.
What are the Indicators of Kidney Deterioration?
Early on, symptoms may not be noticeable because the kidneys can compensate for lost function. However, as the condition progresses, one might experience nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, sleep disturbances, decreased mental clarity, changes in urination, swelling, muscle cramps, itchy skin, and shortness of breath due to fluid retention.
Doctors can run tests on your urine, blood creatinine levels, and glomerular filtration rate (a measure of kidney function).
Detecting CKD in its early stage is crucial since treatment is more effective in the initial stages before extensive damage accumulates.
Stages of Chronic Kidney Disease
Based on the glomerular filtration rate, CKD is labelled into five stages as it progresses. Moreover, CKD can, unfortunately, affect your entire body in terms of fluid retention, heart disease, weak bones, nerve damage, anaemia, reduced immunity, and more.
For severe kidney failure (stage 5), dialysis or a kidney transplant is often necessary for survival.
Each of the stages guides the treatment approach:
- Stage 1: Kidney damage with normal function. Often, there are no symptoms. Slowing disease progression is the focus.
- Stage 2: Mild loss of kidney function. High blood pressure may appear. It is crucial to slow disease progression.
- Stage 3: Moderate loss of function. More symptoms surface, like fluid retention, anaemia, and others. Treatment intensifies to prevent complications.
- Stage 4: Severe loss of function. Many symptoms are present. Preparation for kidney failure treatment begins.
- Stage 5: End-stage kidney failure. This requires dialysis/transplant for survival.
The stages help target treatment, monitoring, and prevention efforts. Detecting CKD early and maintaining kidney health is critical.
Protective Guidelines Against CKD
Several lifestyle measures that can help prevent CKD include:
- Carefully follow medication instructions, especially with over-the-counter pain relievers.
- Maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise.
- Quit smoking and avoid exposure to passive smoke.
- Control conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Avoid toxins that can damage kidneys.
- Stay hydrated and avoid recurrent kidney infections.
- Get tested if at higher risk due to genetics, age, or other diseases.
Treatment focuses on slowing kidney damage progression through:
- Controlling blood sugar and blood pressure.
- Medications to reduce strain on kidneys.
- Diet changes like reduced salt, protein, and potassium.
- Staying physically active.
- Avoid smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and exposure to toxic substances.
For advanced kidney failure, dialysis or kidney transplant are lifesaving options to replace kidney function.
Kidney disease is not to be taken lightly. Closely watch out for risk factors, and seek medical attention if symptoms appear. Adopt proactive measures to maintain kidney health.
Early detection and appropriate treatment can substantially delay the disease’s progression. Always prioritise your kidney well-being!
Researched by Adejoke Toye