Chronic Kidney Disease: Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

There are 2 kidneys in your body and each is equal to the size of your fist. Kidneys’ job is to filter excess water and body wastes out ofyour blood into urine. Kidneys also assist in maintaining the body’s balance, producing hormones and controlling the blood pressure.

However, when the kidneys are impaired, due to any reason, they may not function properly. One of the diseases that cause the damage to the kidneys is called chronic kidney disease (CKD). Kidneys suffering from CKD don’t filter the blood like they normally do. As a result, the waste products start accumulating in the body which may consequently affect your overall health.

What Is Chronic Kidney Disease?

Long standing and irreversible damage to the renal tissue that may compromise the kidney functions is referred to as chronic renal/ kidney disease (abbreviated as CKD). In poorly managed chronic kidney disease, the risk of suffering from a variety of medical complications increases significantly, such as nerve damage, poor nutritional health, weak bones, anemia and high blood pressure. Having a kidney disease may put you at increased risk of developing blood vessel and heart diseases. These complications, however, do not occur overnight, they develop over a prolonged time period. Major cause of chronic kidney disease may be elevated blood pressure, diabetes and some other medical conditions. If diagnosed and treated at the right time, there is chance of preventing the disease from becoming aggravated. But if the disease progresses, it may eventually lead to kidneyfailure.

What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease?

Most patients only experience symptoms when their disease gets advanced. Nevertheless, the symptoms that are associated with the chronic kidney disease are:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble concentrating on something
  • Feeling more exhausted
  • Itchy dry skin
  • Puffy eyes, particularly after waking up
  • Swollen ankles and feet
  • Muscle cramps, especially at night
  • Frequent urination, especially at night
  • Troubles with sleep

What Causes Chronic Kidney Disease?

No definite cause has been reported to cause chronic kidney disease; however, any medical complication that tends to damage the kidney structure or the blood vessels results in kidney disease. The two most common causes are:

  • Diabetes. High levels of blood sugar which result from diabetes can damage blood vessels that are present within the kidneys. If blood sugar level continues to stay elevated for more than a couple of years, it may consequently bring decline in the proper functioning of kidneys.
  • Highblood pressure. Also termed as hypertension, it may significantly damage the blood vessels, which in turn results in kidney damage. And blood pressure often rises in patients with chronic kidney disease, so high blood pressure may damage kidney function further, even initially there’s another medical cause for CKD.

Some other conditions may also cause chronic kidney disease. They include:

  • Kidney disease and certain infections like polycystic kidney disease, glomerulonephritis, pyelonephritis, or some other kidney related complication that you have had since birth.
  • Having an occluded or narrowed renal artery.
  • Prolong use of medications that are capable of causing damage to the kidneys, like some antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, e.g. ibuprofen and celecoxib.

How to Treat Chronic Kidney Disease

The major goal of the treatment is to prevent any furtherdamage to the kidneys. Therefore, it is essential to pinpoint and manage the exact medical condition that’s causing damage to your kidney. Disease prevention is another significant part of the treatment and efforts should be made to keep it from getting worst.

  • Control your blood sugar levels. In case you are also diabetic, it is necessary to keep you blood sugar level under controlwith the medicine, diet or exercise. A persistent incline in the blood sugar level can cause damage to the kidneys.
  • Control your blood pressure. In case you are also a patient of hypertension,it is essential you keep your blood pressure under the normal range like 130/80. Consult your doctor for how to manage your blood pressure.
  • Take medication. Always take the medication prescribed by your doctor at the right time. Skipping doses of your medicines can only make your condition worst. Ask your doctor before taking any over-the-counter (OTC) medicines or some herbs to alleviate your symptoms.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Follow the diet plan and it is not only beneficial for your kidneys but also for the whole body. Consult a dietician to have your own diet chart to make sure your diet contains all the correct amounts of proteins, fluids and salts.
  • Stay active. Exercise will keep your body active and function properly. Seek your physician’s help, so he may suggest you some exercise programs, which in turn will help you in maintaining a good, healthy and active body.
  • Avoid alcohol or tobacco. Avoid using substances that are known to cause damage to the kidneys, such as tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs. Make sure your doctor is well informed about all sorts of meds you are taking, whatever they are herbs, OTCs or prescribed meds.