Kidney Disease: Signs & Symptoms
There are two kidneys located on the left and right sides of your spine, in the middle of the back. They are bean-shaped and approximately the fist-sized. Kidneys are vital organs that remove toxins & surplus water from the bloodstream.
The kidneys are powerful chemical factories that perform the following functions:
- Filter & remove waste products from the body
- Remove medicines from the body
- Balance the body's fluids
- Produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones
- Control the production of red blood cells
- Release hormones that regulate blood pressure
The kidneys perform their life-sustaining job of filtering about 189 litres of fluid every 24 hours and returning it to the bloodstream. A little less than 1 litre of fluid in in the form of urine is removed from the body, and about 187 litres are recovered. The urine we excrete has been stored between 1 to 8 hours in the bladder.
What is chronic kidney disease (CKD)?
Chronic kidney disease arises due to certain conditions that damage the kidneys & reduce the functioning of the kidneys. Wastes can build to high levels in the blood and make a person feel sick when kidney disease worsens.
Persons suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) may develop complications like high blood pressure, anaemia (low blood count), weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage. The risk of developing heart and blood vessel disease increases with kidney disease. Complications linked to CKD may develop slowly over a long period of time. Conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders may cause Chronic Kidney Disease. Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse. If kidney disease progresses, it may result in kidney failure, requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Facts
- Early detection may prevent the progression of kidney disease to kidney failure.
- Heart disease is the major cause of death for all people with CKD.
- Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is the best estimate of kidney function.
- Hypertension causes CKD and CKD causes hypertension.
- Persistent proteinuria (protein in the urine) means a person suffers from CKD
- Those at High Risk are those with diabetes, hypertension and family history of kidney failure.
- Two simple tests can detect CKD: blood pressure, urine albumin and serum creatinine.
Warning Signs of Kidney Disease
Both kidneys are usually affected by Kidney Disease.
If the kidneys' ability to filter the blood is seriously damaged, wastes and excess fluid may build up in the body. Although many forms of kidney disease do not produce symptoms until much later in disease progression, these are a few warning signs:
- Feel more tired and have less energy
- Have trouble concentrating
- Have a poor appetite
- Have trouble sleeping
- Have muscle cramping at night
- Have swollen feet and ankles
- Have puffiness around your eyes, especially in the morning
- Have dry, itchy skin
- Need to urinate more often, especially at night.
Treatment for Kidney Disease
- Control of diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure prevents kidney disease or its progression.
- Kidney stones and urinary tract infections are also treated successfully.
- Some causes of kidney diseases are still unknown, with specific treatments not yet available for them.
- Chronic Kidney Disease may progress to kidney failure, requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation.
- Treating high blood pressure with Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors may slow the progression of chronic kidney disease.