Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Chronic kidney disease: An overview

Dr. Gayatri Pegu, MD (Medicine), DM (Nephrology), Specialist in Kidney Disease and Nephrotic Syndrome, Nephrologist, Apollo Clinic, Guwahati, Assam

Published: Dec 28, 2022 01:46:22 PM IST
Updated: Jan 6, 2023 09:52:38 PM IST

Chronic kidney disease: An overviewChronic Kidney Disease (CKD) or chronic renal disease is characterized by gradual loss of kidney functions. A healthy kidney filters excess fluids and wastes from the blood which gets removed through the urine. In chronic kidney failure excess amount of fluid waste and electrolytes get collected in the body. In the early stages of disease, there might be no symptoms observed but it will be visible after the condition worsens. Chronic kidney disease increases the risk of developing heart disease and blood vessel disease. Continuous deterioration of kidney functions may progress into kidney failure.

Signs and symptoms of kidney disease progress slowly if kidney damage is slower. In the severe stage following symptoms are observed-
•    Vomiting
•    Nausea
•    Sleep-related problems
•    Muscle cramps
•    Fatigue
•    Dry and itchy skin
•    High blood pressure
•    Swelling of feet and ankles
•    Frequent urination at night, etc.

The causes responsible for chronic kidney disease include high blood pressure, type 1and type 2 diabetes, glomerulonephritis, inherited kidney diseases, long-term obstruction of the urinary tract, diabetes, high cholesterol, and long-term use of NSAIDs.

Risk factors
The factors which can increase the risk of developing chronic kidney diseases are-
•    Diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc.
•    Smoking
•    Obesity
•    Family history of kidney disease.
•    Ethnicity (Native American, being black, Asian American).

•    Follow instructions on over-the-counter medicines. Don’t use them frequently.
•    Quit smoking
•    Maintain a healthy weight.
•    Manage health conditions by staying connected with the doctor.

Tests & Diagnosis
•    Kidney scans (Ultrasound, MRI, CT, etc).
•    Urine test- The presence of albumin in the urine shows that the kidneys are damaged.
•    Kidney biopsy- Testing of kidney tissues.
•    Chest X-ray
•    GFR

Treatments for CKD
For the treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD) doctors try to slow the progression of disease by working on the cause. The main treatments which are done by experts include-
•    Lifestyle modifications.
•    Medicines for the treatment of associated diseases such as high blood pressure.
•    Dialysis to replace kidney functions in the middle stage of CKD.
•    Kidney transplant is done in the last stage of CKD when all the functions cannot be performed by the original kidneys.

CKD is one of the most widespread diseases in the worked affecting 1 in 7 adults. It affects people from specific ethnicity such as Native Americans. Till the time symptoms of CKD starts appearing it reaches the severe stage when it may require dialysis or a transplant. People having health conditions like cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and diabetes are an easy targets to be affected by CKD. People affected and having concerns regarding CKD should lead a healthy and active lifestyle. Regular meeting with the doctor is also necessary.

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