Chronic kidney disease symptoms and treatment
According to the National Kidney Foundation, approximately 26 million American adults are diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, and millions of others are at an increased risk for the disorder. Chronic kidney disease manifests as a gradual loss of kidney function as the victim ages.
Since the primary role of the kidneys is to remove waste and excess fluid from the body, in cases of chronic kidney disease, dangerous amount of excess waste and fluid can build up in the body and cause further health complications if untreated.
Unfortunately, signs and symptoms of chronic kidney failure may not be as obvious in the early stages of the disease. Recognition of the disorder may not become readily apparent until the impairment of the kidneys has reached a severe stage. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the loss of function in the kidneys may be so slow that symptoms will not appear until the kidney function is less than one-tenth of its normal function.
Once a patient reaches the final stage of chronic kidney disease, known as end-stage renal disease or ESRD, the kidneys are completely unable to remove waste and excess fluids from the body and the patient will need a dialysis or a kidney transplant. The U.S. National Library of Medicine says that chronic kidney disease and ESRD currently affects more than two out of every 1,000 people in the United States.
Two of the most common causes of chronic kidney disease are diabetes and high blood pressure. However, the disease can also be caused by a wide range of other diseases and conditions, including autoimmune disorders, birth defects, certain toxic chemicals, injuries, trauma, some pain medications and reflux nephropathy.
Treatment for chronic kidney failure is geared toward reducing the progression of kidney damage, typically by targeting the underlying cause of the problem. One of the more common methods for treating chronic kidney failure includes controlling blood pressure to slow down further kidney damage.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) are both often used as part of the treatment process. The goal of many treatment processes is to keep blood pressure at or below 130/80 mmHg.
Doctors often recommend that patients take the following measures to protect the kidneys and prevent stroke and heart disease:
- Don't smoke tobacco
- Choose foods low in fat and cholesterol
- Exercise regularly
- Take cholesterol-reducing medicines
- Control your blood sugar
- Avoid overindulging on salt and potassium
It's important to always consult your Cincinnati urologist before making any changes in your diet and exercise routine, or before taking medications in order to ensure that these measures will contribute positively to improving your health.