Our kidneys, in all their subdued glory, perform a function that is most essential for the body, ie, to keep it healthy and toxin free.
These organs, willing to do the dirty labour, work in tandem with the other organs to keep our system spic and span.
Kidney Failure: What Is Chronic Kidney Disease?
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a long term condition where the kidneys slowly start losing their effectiveness. The worst part is, unwitting victims suffering from CKD are not aware of the symptoms until the damage becomes extensive and irreversible.
Kidney failure is the most severe form of CKD, and it means the kidneys cannot function on their own without dialysis or a kidney transplant.
Chronic Kidney Disease & Kidney Failure: Common Symptoms
The body can keep performing normally even with a major reduction in kidney functioning, making it difficult for unsuspecting patients to notice the changes.
A routine blood/urine test is required to check the normal functioning of your kidneys. No matter which stage you are in, prompt diagnosis and necessary treatment might increase the chances of your kidneys to live longer. Some of the symptoms that might triggered by kidney failure/disease include:
- Swollen ankles or hands
- Change in urination (Frequent / less urination than usual)
- Pressure or difficulty while urinating
- Weight loss and decreased appetite
- Nausea and hypertension
- Difficulty in breathing
Kidney Failure: Causes
High blood pressure and diabetes are the most common condition that put a strain on kidneys, adversely affecting them. On the other hand, hypertension may also hamper the functioning of the kidneys, by preventing the filtering process from working correctly. Diabetes patients are also the most prone to falling prey to kidney diseases, as excess glucose damages the tiny filters in the kidney.
However, there are a few other key factors responsible for kidney diseases
- Inflammation of the kidney (glomerulonephritis)
- Polycystic Kidney Disease
- Infection in the kidney
- Long term exposure to medicines like lithium & aspirin
- Blockages due to kidney stone & prostrate disease
Screening & Tests: Diagnosis of Kidney Failure
Those more vulnerable to getting afflicted with kidney disease should go for regular screening & blood tests, in order to rule out any dysfunctioning. People suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes or those with a family history of CKD are advised to go for regular screening.
Conducting a urine test and albumin/creatinine test can also determine the amounts of protein in the urine.
Another effective method of evaluating the functioning of your kidney is by calculating the Glomerular Filtration Rate, which is the assessment of the amount of waste fluid our kidney can filter from our blood in a minute.
Kidney failure: Treatment
Although there is no cure for kidney failures, the treatment depends largely on the stage and extent of damage. Acute kidney failure occurs when the kidneys completely lose their ability to perform, and therefore can be treated only with dialysis or a kidney transplant.
However, early stages of Kidney diseases can be prevented from deteriorating further through changes in lifestyle and taking medication to control high blood pressure & cholesterol.