Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): a condition characterized by the gradual loss of kidney function. CKD is currently the 9th leading cause of death in the United States and roughly 31 million Americans are affected by the disease.
There are five stages of CKD, which are based on the measures of Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR):
|1||90+||Kidney damage with normal of high GFR||Observation, control of blood pressure.|
|2||60-89||Kidney damage with mildly low GFR||Observation, control of blood pressure and risk factors.|
|3||30-59||Kidney damage with moderately low GFR||Observation, control of blood pressure and risk factors.|
|4||15-29||Kidney damage with severely low GFR||Planning for endstage renal failure.|
|5||Below 15||Kidney failure||Treatment Choices|
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): Symptoms
People in the early stages of kidney disease often have no symptoms. In fact, 9 out of 10 people who have stage 3 CKD are unaware they have the condition. As the disease progresses, common symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Frequent or infrequent urination
- “Foam” in urine
- Fatigue and shortness of breath
- Loss of appetite
- Weight Loss
Many of these symptoms are nonspecific, meaning they can be caused by conditions unrelated to CKD. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor. A simple blood test can detect CKD. Early detection can slow the progression of the disease.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): Causes
While the exact cause of CKD isn’t always known, conditions or diseases that damage blood vessels or other structures in the kidneys can lead to CKD. These conditions include:
- Diabetes (type 1/type 2)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Kidney diseases (polycystic kidney disease, pyelonephritis, glomerulonephritis, etc.)
- Narrowed or blocked renal artery
Long term use of anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and celecoxib, can lead to reduced kidney function, which may cause CKD.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD): Treatment
While there is no known cure for CKD, there are a handful of treatment options available to slow the progression of the disease. Treatment option vary based on the cause of your CKD. Common treatment methods include:
- High blood pressure medication
- Medication to lower cholesterol levels
- Medication to treat anemia
- Medication to relieve swelling
- Medication to protect your bones
- Low protein diet to eliminate waste in your blood
If CKD is in the advanced stages and a patient faces end-stage renal disease, dialysis or a kidney transplant are the only available treatment methods.