What is chronic kidney disease (CKD)?
Healthy kidneys remove waste from your blood. The waste then leaves your body in your urine. The kidneys also help control blood pressure and make red blood cells. When the kidneys are damaged, they cannot remove waste from the blood as well as they should. This is called chronic kidney disease. Almost 20 million people in the United States have this disease.
What are the symptoms of CKD?
Most people don't have any symptoms early in the disease. Once the disease progresses, the symptoms can include the following:
Loss of appetite
High blood pressure (hypertension) may develop as a result of kidney damage. This may exacerbate the problem by damaging the kidneys further. However, progress of the disease is usually very slow and it may go undetected for years.
Puffiness around the eyes, swelling of the hands and feet
Pain in the small of the back just below the ribs
High blood pressure
Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease
Unlike acute renal failure, chronic renal failure slowly gets worse. It most often results from any disease that causes gradual loss of kidney function. It can range from mild dysfunction to severe kidney failure. The disease may lead to end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
Kidney disease present at birth (congenital)
Bladder outlet obstruction
Overexposure to toxins and to some medications
Family history of kidney disease
High blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure causes another 30% of all kidney disease. Because blood pressure often rises with chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure may further damage kidney function even when another medical condition initially caused the disease.
How is it diagnosed?
The most common symptom of IgA nephropathy is blood in the urine, which causes the urine to look tea-colored. To confirm the diagnosis, a small piece of kidney tissue must be removed (biopsy) and examined.
Treatment of Chronic Kidney Disease
The goal of therapy is to slow down or halt the otherwise relentless progression of CKD to stage 5. Control of blood pressure and treatment of the original disease, whenever feasible, are the broad principles of management. Generally, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) or angiotensin II receptor antagonists (ARBs) are used, as they have been found to slow the progression of CKD to stage 5
One of the most important parts of treatment for chronic kidney disease is to control the disease that is causing it. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, you and your doctor will develop a plan to aggressively treat and manage your condition to help slow additional damage to your kidneys. If your child must take so much medicine that it affects his or her appetite, contact your doctor for advice. Try to find the most acceptable forms of medicine (smaller pills, capsules, or more concentrated liquids, for example) and simplify the medication schedule under your doctor's guidance.