Renal Disease: What is Chronic Kidney Disease and How You Can Spot It

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London: Chronic kidney disease (CKD), also called chronic kidney failure, describes the gradual loss of kidney function. Our kidneys filter out waste products and excess fluids from the blood before they are excreted through urine. They also help maintain blood pressure.

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As CKD advances, the kidneys do not function properly and dangerous levels of waste build up in your body. The risk of CKD increases as you age. It is also more common among Asians and blacks. CKD does not usually cause any symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage. It can be detected early on via blood and urine tests.

Kidney Failure Symptoms

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Symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Sleep problems
  • Changes in how much you urinate
  • Decreased mental sharpness
  • Muscle twitches and cramps
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Persistent itching
  • Chest pain, if fluid builds up around the lining of the heart
  • Shortness of breath, if fluid builds up in the lungs
  • High blood pressure that is difficult to control

Those with the condition have a greater risk of having a stroke or heart attack. It can also cause kidney failure when sufferers will need to have dialysis or a possible transplant. However, lifestyle changes and medication can stop the disease from getting worse if it is diagnosed at an early stage.

To reduce your risk:

Follow instructions for over-the-counter medications. Taking too many pain relievers can lead to kidney damage
Maintain a healthy weight
Don’t smoke. Smoking cigarettes can cause kidney damage

What is a renal disease?

Renal disease, also known as kidney failure or end-stage renal disease (ESRD), is the final stage of chronic kidney disease. It occurs when the kidneys fail, preventing the body from removing wastes and fluids. There is no known cure, although certain procedures can help patients live longer and alleviate pain.

This condition is fatal if left untreated and requires a kidney transplant or dialysis for the patient to survive. Diabetes and high blood pressure are generally seen as the most common causes of renal disease. Urinary tract issues, genetic diseases, and autoimmune diseases are also causes of renal disease.

Acute renal failure, also known as acute kidney injury, can also be caused by alcohol and drug abuse, heart attacks, urinary tract problems, and a lack of blood flow to the kidneys. This type of kidney failure can occur suddenly within 48 hours but is not always permanent.

Kidney failure symptoms

Kidney failure symptoms generally occur slowly and are often not noticeable until the kidneys are seriously damaged. Common symptoms include nausea, itching, muscle cramps, trouble breathing, and swelling in the ankles and feet.

The symptoms of acute kidney failure generally include back pain, abdominal pain, fever, rashes, diarrhea, and vomiting. Renal disease, a stage of kidney disease, is a serious issue that can lead to death if not treated. According to the Kidney Fund, it’s the ninth most common cause of death in the United States.

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