Chronic kidney disease some facts

Chronic kidney disease is a slow progressive loss of kidney function over a period of several years. It is also known as Chronic Renal Failure, Chronic Renal Disease, or Chronic Kidney Failure; It is widespread and goes undetected and undiagnosed until the disease is well advanced. People realize they have chronic kidney failure only when their kidney function is down to 25 percent of normal. As kidney failure advances and the organ’s function is severely impaired, dangerous levels of waste and fluid can rapidly build up in the body.


Symptoms of Chronic kidney disease

Chronic kidney failure, as opposed to acute kidney failure, is a slow and gradually progressive disease. Even if one kidney stops functioning, the other can carry out normal functions.  It is important that people who are at high risk of developing kidney disease have their kidney function regularly checked. Early detection can significantly help prevent serious kidney damage.

The most common signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease include:

  • Anemia
  • Blood in urine
  • Decreased mental alertness
  • Decreased urine output
  • Edema– swollen feet, hands, and ankles (face if edema is severe)
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Hypertension(high blood pressure)
  • Insomnia
  • Itchy skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inability to get or maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction) in males.
  • More frequent urination, especially at night
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle twitches
  • Nausea
  • Pain on the side or mid to lower back
  • Panting
  • Protein in urine
  • Sudden change in bodyweight

Causes Chronic kidney disease

  • Kidneys carry out the complex system of filtration in our bodies – excess waste and fluid material are removed from the blood and excreted from the body..
  • In the majority of cases, progressive kidney damage is the result of a chronic disease such as:
  • Diabetes – chronic kidney disease is linked to diabetes types 1 and 2. If the patient’s diabetes is not well controlled, excess sugar (glucose) can accumulate in the blood. It more commonly occurs after 15-25 years after diagnosis of diabetes.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure) – high blood pressure can damage the glomeruli.
  • Obstructed urine flow – If urine flow is blocked it can back up into the kidney from the bladder (vesicoureteral reflux). Blocked urine flow increases pressure on the kidneys and reduces their function. Some causes leading to backflow  include an enlarged prostate, kidney stones, or a tumor.
  • Kidney diseases – including polycystic kidney disease, pyelonephritis, or glomerulonephritis.
  • Kidney artery stenosis –If the renal artery narrows or is blocked before it enters the kidney, kidney can be damaged and over a period of time renal failure occurs.
  • Certain toxins – including fuels, solvents (such as carbon tetrachloride), and lead (and lead-based paint, pipes, and soldering materials) are nephrotoxic.
  • Fetal developmental problem – if the kidneys do not develop properly in the fetus while it is developing in the uterus.
  • Systemic lupus erythematosis – an autoimmune disease. The body’s own immune system attacks the kidneys as though they were foreign tissue.
  • Malaria and yellow fever – known to cause kidney damage.
  • Some medications – overuse of drugs for example, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), such as or ibuprofen.
  • Illegal substance abuse – such as heroin or cocaine.
  • Injury – a sharp blow or physical trauma to the kidney(s).

Chronic kidney disease diagnosis

  • Blood test – a blood test may be ordered to determine whether waste substances are being adequately filtered out. A kidney function test include urea.creatinine, uric acid, sodium, potassium, protein and albmin levels.
  • Urine test – a routine urine test helps find out whether there is either blood or protein in the urine.
  • Kidney scans – kidney scans may include a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, computed tomography (CT) scan, or an ultrasound These scans can also reveal the size and shape of the kidneys – in advanced stages of kidney disease the kidneys become smaller and have an uneven shape.
  • Kidney biopsy – A small sample of kidney tissue is extracted and examined for cell damage. An analysis of kidney tissue makes it easier to make a precise diagnosis of kidney disease.
  • Chest X-ray – the aim here is to check for pulmonary edema(fluid retained in the lungs).
  • Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) – GFR is a test that measures the glomerular filtration rate – it compares the levels of waste products in the patient’s blood and urine. GFR measures how many milliliters of waste the kidneys can filter per minute. The kidneys of healthy individuals can typically filter over 90 ml per minute.



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