What do clinical evaluations, blood tests, urine tests, kidney tissue tests, and imaging tests all have in common? These are all diagnostic measures that doctors may use to diagnose chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, shares Professor Steven Sourbron, the Chair of PARENCHIMA (now known as renalmri.org), these diagnostic tools may be ineffective at catching CKD in early stages; this is because the kidneys can still function even with a certain level of damage. By the time the damage progresses to the point where function is lost, CKD is much more difficult to treat.
In an article published in News Medical, Professor Sourbron discusses how the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) could contribute to earlier CKD identification and diagnosis. He explains that previous studies showed that renal MRIs can identify biomarkers of CKD and subtle changes in the kidneys, allowing for earlier diagnosis. Despite the fact that this has shown efficacy, many clinics and research programs still fail to consider these biomarkers.
PARENCHIMA, a COST Action, initially formed to change the clinical research sphere. First, the organization worked to connect various European research groups; this was designed to standardize diagnostic and research methods (such as biomarker use), show the benefits of biomarkers, and develop the necessary tools to evaluate data from different groups. So far, PARENCHIMA has created various protocols and helped to launch a study on renal MRIs to determine its efficacy in more detail.
The Important Facts on CKD
You may also hear people refer to chronic kidney disease (CKD) as chronic kidney failure. This condition is characterized by lasting, progressively worsening kidney damage. It typically occurs after another disease impairs kidney function, preventing the kidneys from removing wastes from the blood. Potential diseases or conditions that can cause CKD include diabetes, high blood pressure, polycystic kidney disease, urinary tract obstruction, glomerulonephritis, and vesicoureteral reflux (among others).
Symptoms of chronic kidney disease may include fatigue and general weakness, jaundice (yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes), liver and spleen enlargement, appetite loss, high blood pressure, muscle pain, itchiness, shortness of breath, and swelling of the feet and ankles. This is not an exhaustive list of symptoms.
Your doctor may take a multimodal approach to treating your CKD. Treatment typically focuses on disease management, slowing progression, and preventing complications from occurring. If you have CKD, your doctor may recommend cholesterol, anemia, or high blood pressure medications; diuretics; nutritional supplements; and dialysis or kidney transplantation if your condition progresses.