Chronic kidney disease, also called chronic Kidney Failure, describes the gradual loss of kidney function. Your kidneys filter wastes and excess flu-ids from your blood, which are then excreted in your urine. When chronic kidney disease reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluid, elec-trolytes and wastes can build up in your body.
Symptoms develop slowly and aren’t specific to the disease. Some people have no symptoms at all and are diagnosed by a lab test.
In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, you may have few signs or symptoms. Chronic kidney disease may not become apparent until your kidney function is significantly impaired and can last for years or be life-long leading to renal failure.
More than 100 thousand cases per year (Nigeria)
Treatment for chronic kidney disease focuses on slowing the progression of the kidney damage, usually by controlling the underlying cause. Chronic kidney disease can progress to end-stage kidney failure, which is fatal without artificial filtering (dialysis) or a kidney transplant. Medication helps manage symptoms. In later stages, filtering the blood with a machine (dialysis) or a transplant may be required.
Signs and symptoms of kidney disease are often nonspecific, meaning they can also be caused by other illnesses. Because your kidneys are highly adaptable and able to compensate for lost function, signs and symptoms may not appear until irreversible damage has occurred.
Signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease develop over time if kidney damage progresses slowly. The first symptom of kidney disease is a change in the amount and frequency of the urine you pass. There may be increase or decrease in amount of urine you pass and dark colored urine (darker than usual).Frequent urination at night is one of the most common and early symptom of chronic kidney disease and it should not be ignored even though it appears to be harmless. Other symptoms of the disease usually develop at later stage when the kidneys have lost approximately 80% of its function.’
Other symptoms include difficulty or pain while urinating, blood in the urine, foamy urine, swelling or edema, extreme fatigue, anemia and gene-ralized weakness, dizziness and inability to concentrate. Feeling cold all the time, cold back, cold hands and feet are also common and primary symptom of kidney disease.
Shortness of breath is another common symptom because kidney disease. When severe enough a build-up of fluid in the lungs, or because of anemia (a common side effect of kidney disease), starves your body of oxygen making you suffer from breathlessness. Another explanation and cause of kidney disease is fast shallow breathing (as opposed “to abdominal breath-ing), which does not allow the energy and oxygen reach down to touch the kidneys.
A major sign of kidney disease is severe pain in the back or sides. This is a common indicator of kidney disease but is not seen in everyone who suf-fers from the condition. The pain is characteristic and you may feel a severe cramping pain that spreads from the lower back into the groin.
Chronic kidney disease occurs when a disease or condition impairs kidney function, causing kidney damage to worsen over several months or years.
Diseases and conditions that cause chronic kidney disease include:
Type 1 or type 2 diabetes
High blood pressure
Glomerulonephritis (gloe-mer-u-low-nuh-FRY-tis), an inflammation of the kidney’s filtering units (glomeruli)
- Interstitial nephritis (in-tur-STISH-ul nuh-FRY-tis), an inflammation of the kidney’s tubules and surrounding structures
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Prolonged obstruction of the urinary tract, from conditions such as en-larged prostate, kidney stones and some cancers
- Vesicoureteral (ves-ih-koe-yoo-REE-tur-ul) reflux, a condition that causes urine to back up into your kidneys
- Recurrent kidney infection, also called pyelonephritis (pie-uh-low-nuh-FRY-tis)
Factors that may increase your risk of chronic kidney disease include: •Diabetes, •High blood pressure, •Heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease, •Smoking, •Obesity, •Family history of kidney disease, •Abnormal kidney structure, •Older age
Chronic kidney disease can affect almost every part of your body. Potential complications may include:
- Fluid retention, which could lead to swelling in your arms and legs, high blood pressure, or fluid in your lungs (pulmonary edema)
- A sudden rise in potassium levels in your blood (hyperkalemia), which could impair your heart’s ability to function and may be life-threatening
- Heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease
- Weak bones and an increased risk of bone fractures
- Decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction or reduced fertility
- Damage to your central nervous system, which can cause difficulty con-centrating, personality changes or seizures
- Decreased immune response, which makes you more vulnerable to infection
- Pericarditis, an inflammation of the saclike membrane that envelops your heart (pericardium)
- Pregnancy complications that carry risks for the mother and the develop-ing fetus
- Irreversible damage to your kidneys (end-stage kidney disease), eventually requiring either dialysis or a kidney transplant for survival.
To reduce your risk of developing kidney disease:
- Follow instructions on over-the-counter medications. When using nonprescription pain relievers, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), follow the instructions on the package. Taking too many pain relievers could lead to kidney damage and generally should be avoided if you have kidney disease. Ask your doctor whether these drugs are safe for you.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re at a healthy weight, work to main-tain it by being physically active most days of the week. If you need to lose weight, talk with your doctor about strategies for healthy weight loss. Often this involves increasing daily physical activity and reducing calories.
- Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking can damage your kidneys and make ex-isting kidney damage worse. If you’re a smoker, talk to your doctor about strategies for quitting smoking. Support groups, counseling and medications can all help you to stop.
- 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.