Table of Contents

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

What is CKD?

Chronic kidney disease (also called chronic kidney failure or CKD) is defined as lasting damage to the kidneys that progressively gets worse over time. The kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from your blood, excreted during urination. When chronic kidney disease reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes can build up in your body and cause health complications. There are approximately 26 million American adults with CKD.

What are the symptoms of CKD?

  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
  • Stunted growth
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Enlarged liver or spleen
  • Liver diseases
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Sleep issues
  • Changes in how much you urinate
  • Muscle twitches and cramps
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Persistent itching
  • Shortness of breath
  • High blood pressure

What causes CKD?

Generally, CKD occurs when a disease or condition impairs kidney function, causing kidney damage to worsen over several months or years. These diseases and conditions include:
  • Type 1 or type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Glomerulonephritis, an inflammation of the kidney’s filtering units
  • Interstitial nephritis, an inflammation of the kidney’s tubules and surrounding structures
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Prolonged obstruction of the urinary tract
  • Vesicoureteral reflux, a condition that causes urine to back up into your kidneys
  • Recurrent kidney infection, also called pyelonephritis

How is CKD diagnosed?

CKD is often diagnosed after clinical evaluation, detailed patient history, and identification of characteristic symptoms. A diagnosis may be confirmed through:
  • Blood test
  • Urine test
  • Imaging test
  • Kidney tissue testing

What are the treatments for CKD?

Treatment for CKD generally involves controlling signs and symptoms, reducing complications, and slowing the progression of the disease.  Some of these treatments include:
  • High blood pressure medications
  • Cholesterol medication
  • Anemia medication
  • Diuretics
  • Calcium, Vitamin D, and phosphate binder (to protect bones)
And the following are treatments for end-stage kidney disease:
  • Dialysis
  • Kidney transplant

Where can I find out more about CKD?

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Articles