Chronic Kidney Diseases: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment
Chronic kidney disease happens when the kidneys fail to function normally. If you have impaired kidneys, your body will not be able to filter wastes and remove excessive fluid from the body. In the recent years, health experts have witnessed an increase in chronic kidney diseases, which have accounted for 11 lakh deaths across the world. Chronic kidney disease can either get worse with time or cause damage which cannot be reversed, depending on the cause of the disease. One of the leading causes of chronic kidney disease is diabetes mellitus.
Causes of chronic kidney disease
Obesity is what causes diabetes mellitus. Other reasons which can cause chronic kidney disease include high blood pressure, kidney stones, polycystic kidney disease and excessive intake of pain killers.
If a person is born with a kidney problem, it is quite likely to lead to a chronic kidney disease in future. People with a narrowed or blocked renal artery are also likely to be prone to chronic kidney diseases. This is because renal arteries are responsible for carrying blood to the kidneys.
Symptoms of chronic kidney diseases
Symptoms of chronic kidney disease begin to show after a few months of your kidney failure. Most people do not get symptoms of chronic kidney diseases in the initial stages. Some people get symptoms until 30 years or more.
Symptoms of chronic kidney disease include urinating lesser than normal; swelling in the body or weight gain because buildup of fluid in tissues; feeling excessively tired or sleepy; not feeling hungry and weight loss without trying; feeling nauseated, troubled sleep and headaches.
Diagnosis of chronic kidney diseases
Blood and urine tests are done in order to diagnose chronic kidney diseases. Doctors measure the amount of urea and creatinine in the blood. These tests inform the doctor about how well your kidneys are functioning. The amount of nitrogen and creatinine in your blood increases in case your kidney function gets worse.
The level of creatinine in the blood will tell how far your kidneys can function. Creatinine levels are known as glomerular filtration rate (GFR). The GFR tells at which stage is your kidney damage and helps the doctor to go ahead with the treatment accordingly.
Diagnosis of chronic kidney diseases is also done by the doctor asking you if you have history of kidney problems or if the condition runs in the family. He will also ask you about the medicines you take, both prescribed and over-the-counter.
Ultrasound tests and CT scans are done when the doctor needs to look at the picture of your kidneys. These tests help in measuring an estimate of blood flow in your kidneys, the size of your kidneys and also help in checking if the urine flow is blocked in anyway.
Some kidney diseases are diagnosed through a biopsy. A biopsy is a procedure wherein a small sample of your kidney tissue is taken to find out the cause of kidney disease.
Treatment of kidney disease
Since diabetes and high blood pressure are one of the major causes of chronic kidney diseases, dealing with them is more important. People with diabetes and high blood pressure should make sure that they exercise regularly and lose weight to control their condition.
Lifestyle changes are an important aspect of treatment of chronic kidney diseases. These changes help in slowing down kidney diseases and reduce symptoms of chronic kidney diseases. These lifestyle changes include eating a diet with the right amount of salt and protein.
People with chronic kidney disease are required to exercise regularly. They need to quit smoking and alcohol. Any medicines that a person with chronic kidney disease takes have to be done under medical supervision.
In case chronic kidney disease gets worse, it can lead to kidney failure. Kidney failures can harm your bones, heart and can even cause brain problems. Dialysis and kidney transplants are the treatments for kidney failures.
Dialysis is a process which filters your blood when your kidneys fail to do so. It helps a person with chronic kidney disease feel better and live for longer.
For a healthy person however, a kidney transplant is considered to be the best choice. But the procedure of waiting for a kidney that is suitable for your blood and tissues can take quite long. Also, people who undergo kidney transplants have to medicines for the rest of their lives. This is to prevent the body from rejecting the new kidney.