Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects hundreds of millions of people throughout the world. As of 2017, 697.5 million people were estimated to have CKD by this study published in Nature Reviews Nephrology. Of these affected individuals, there were 1.2 million deaths. These numbers demonstrate the severity of the global issue presented by CKD. In order to fix this problem, we first must fully understand the condition and develop treatments for it.
Looking at the definition of chronic kidney disease, we see that it occurs when the estimated glomerular filtration rate is less than 60 ml/min/1.73 m2 for a minimum of three months and albumin is excreted through the urine.
Symptoms do not often appear until the disease has progressed to stage four or five, and at this point complications have already arisen. People with this condition live at a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease and age-related functional decline.
To improve this problem, there must be early detection, proper diagnosis, and the right treatment. While these things may not reverse the progression of CKD, they can prevent further damage and complications. These changes will also stop patients from paying the very high price that comes with late-stage care; dialysis, cardiovascular disease treatment, and transplants are expensive.
CKD Risk Factors
Possible risk factors of chronic kidney disease include:
- Being born with a low birth weight
- Being of non-Caucasion ethnicity
- Older age (above 65)
- A family history of CKD or cardiovascular disease
Doctors recommend that patients who fall into these populations are regularly screened for CKD.
In order to obtain a CKD diagnosis, doctors will evaluate your serum creatine level and look for proteinuria. This is followed by tests like CT scans, ultrasounds, voiding cystourethrography, and others. Urinalysis may also be utilized.
Treatment for CKD
Monitoring is an important part of treatment, as doctors must be aware of a patient’s symptoms, disease progression, and overall health. Staying on top of these things can lower the risk of and prevent complications, as doctors can intervene as soon as a problem is noticed.
In terms of medical management, doctors will prescribe medications to treat diabetes and lower blood pressure. ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers are also frequently used in treatment. If one’s disease is advanced, doctor’s will utilize dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Lastly, doctors advise that patients make changes to their lifestyle and daily habits. Restricting dairy, sodium, and protein, along with losing weight, are all ways to help manage CKD.
About Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
Chronic kidney disease occurs when there is lasting damage to the kidneys that progresses with time. The kidneys are unable to function properly, meaning that they cannot filter waste out of the blood. This leads to an accumulation of waste, which in turn results in symptoms and complications. Affected individuals may experience fatigue, weakness, jaundice, an enlarged spleen and/or liver, high blood pressure, stunted growth, persistent itching, shortness of breath, swelling, muscle cramps, nausea, changes in urination, and sleep issues, among others.
There are a number of causes for CKD, such as type 1 or 2 diabetes, polycystic kidney disease, recurrent kidney infections, high blood pressure, interstitial nephritis, prolonged obstruction of the urinary tract, glomerulonephritis, and vesicoureteral reflex. In terms of treatment, doctors aim to slow disease progression, treat symptoms, and reduce complications. They may prescribe diuretics, cholesterol medications, anemia medications, high blood pressure medications, and vitamins. In severe cases, dialysis and a kidney transplant may be necessary.
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