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What is Chronic Kidney Disease? What are its Symptoms?

26 November 2014

Nearly 26 million of the American adult population suffers from chronic kidney disease, while nearly millions are at a risk of developing it. It refers to a condition where the kidneys have suffered damage and are unable to function optimally. The kidney are responsible for filtering the blood in the body to flush out any additional fluid or waste that may be present in the form of urine. When the functionality of the kidneys are affected, there is a likelihood that waste builds up in the blood, in turn affecting the individual's health.

Many patients choose to visit medical practitioners in India, Thailand, Taiwan, and the US for chronic kidney disease diagnosis and treatment. The medical professionals here have a wealth of experience and offer cost-friendly treatments, making it a favorable choice for patients from around the world.

Symptoms of chronic kidney disease

Early symptoms that are seen at the onset of the chronic kidney disease include:

  •  Loss of appetite
  •  Fatigue
  •  Headaches
  •  Nausea
  •  Itching
  •  Weight-loss

Many people do not experience the symptoms during the early stages. In fact, it is said that many of those who are affected by the disease, don't experience symptoms upwards of 30 years, referred to as the “silent phase”. As the condition worsens the common symptoms of the disease include:

  •  Bone pain
  •  Swelling and/or numbness of feet and hands
  •  Cramps and/or muscle twitching
  •  Blood in stools
  •  Easy bruising
  •  Excessive thirst
  •  Drowsiness
  •  Problems focusing
  •  Breath odor
  •  Sleep problems
  •  Shortness of breath
  •  Amenorrhea
  •  Sexual functionality problems
  •  Vomiting

Causes of chronic kidney disease

High blood pressure and diabetes happen to be two of the most predominant causes for chronic kidney disease, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all the cases. Other conditions that can lead to chronic kidney disease are:

  •  Glomerulonephritis- inflammation of glomeruli (the filtering units in the kidney)
  •  Polycystic kidney disease- development of cysts in the kidneys
  •  Interstitial nephritis- inflammation of the tubules and the structures around them in the kidney
  •  Vesicoureteral reflux- a condition where the urine backs up to the kidneys
  •  Pyelonephritis- repeated incidence of kidney infection
  •  Urinary tract obstructed for prolonged time due to cancer, enlarged prostate or kidney stones
  •  Use of medicines that can have damaging effects on the kidneys for a long period of time, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

How is chronic kidney disease treated?

Doctors usually conduct urine tests and blood tests to diagnose the condition by estimating how well the kidneys are functioning. BUN tests, creatinine level tests and creatinine clearance tests may also be carried out to measure the concentration of nitrogen and creatinine. They may also conduct a CT scan or ultrasound to measure the kidney size and thereby determine the blood flow to see if the urinary flow has been blocked. The doctor may also suggest a biopsy, wherein a sample of the kidney tissue is taken to determine the cause.

The cause of the disease determines whether or not it can be treated. The treatment usually involves controlling the symptoms of the disease, reducing complications and slowing down its progression. In many cases the kidney damage may continue to get worse, despite treating the underlying cause, as in the case of high blood pressure. The doctor may prescribe medications to control high blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels or treat anemia. They may even prescribe drugs to protect bones and/or relieve swelling. They may recommend you to get on a low-protein diet to reduce the waste products present in the blood, and in turn the kidneys' work. In case the kidney is unable to carry out its functions due to severe damage, they may suggest a kidney transplant or dialysis.

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