When the kidney does not work well for long days, this is called chronic kidney disease. Chronic kidney diseases are also called chronic kidney failure. It describes the gradual loss of kidney function. Your kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from your blood, which are then excreted in your urine. When chronic kidney disease reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes, and wastes can build up in your body.
In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, you may have few signs or symptoms. Chronic kidney disease may not become apparent until your kidney function is significantly impaired.
Treatment for chronic kidney disease focuses on slowing the progression of kidney damage, usually by controlling the underlying cause. Chronic kidney disease can progress to end-stage kidney failure, which is fatal without artificial filtering (dialysis) or a kidney transplant.
What Causes Chronic Kidney Diseases
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Heart disease
- Having a family member with kidney diseases.
Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease
Signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease develop over time if kidney damage progresses slowly. Signs and symptoms of kidney disease may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Fatigue and weakness
- Sleep problems
- Changes in how much you urinate
- Decreased mental sharpness
- Muscle twitches and cramps
- Swelling of feet and ankles
- Persistent itching
- Chest pain, if fluid builds up around the lining of the heart
- Shortness of breath, if fluid builds up in the lungs
- High blood pressure (hypertension) that’s difficult to control
- swelling of your legs, called pedal edema
- shortness of breath
- a urine-like odor to your breath
- bone pain
- abnormally dark or light skin
- an ashen cast to your skin, called uremic frost
- numbness in your hands and feet
- brittle hair and nails
- weight loss
- a loss of muscle mass
- muscle twitching and cramps
- blood in your stools
- excessive thirst
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Risk Factor of Chronic Kidney Disease
Factors that may increase your risk of chronic kidney disease include:
- High blood pressure
Chronic kidney disease can affect almost every part of your body. Potential complications may include:
- Fluid retention, which could lead to swelling in your arms and legs, high blood pressure, or fluid in your lungs (pulmonary edema)
- A sudden rise in potassium levels in your blood (hyperkalemia), which could impair your heart’s ability to function and may be life-threatening
- Heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease
- Weak bones and an increased risk of bone fractures
- Decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction or reduced fertility
- Damage to your central nervous system, which can cause difficulty concentrating, personality changes or seizures
- Decreased immune response, which makes you more vulnerable to infection
- Pregnancy complications that carry risks for the mother and the developing fetus
- Irreversible damage to your kidneys (end-stage kidney disease), eventually requiring either dialysis or a kidney transplant for survival
Prevention of Chronic Kidney Disease
To reduce your risk of developing kidney disease:
- Follow instructions on over-the-counter medications. When using nonprescription pain relievers, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), follow the instructions on the package. Taking too many pain relievers could lead to kidney damage and generally should be avoided if you have kidney disease. Ask your doctor whether these drugs are safe for you.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re at a healthy weight, work to maintain it by being physically active most days of the week. If you need to lose weight, talk with your doctor about strategies for healthy weight loss. Often this involves increasing daily physical activity and reducing calories.
- Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking can damage your kidneys and make existing kidney damage worse. If you’re a smoker, talk to your doctor about strategies for quitting smoking. Support groups, counseling and medications can all help you to stop.
- Manage your medical conditions with your doctor’s help. If you have diseases or conditions that increase your risk of kidney disease, work with your doctor to control them. Ask your doctor about tests to look for signs of kidney damage.
The diagnosis of CKD starts with a medical history. A family history of kidney failure, high blood pressure, or diabetes may alert your doctor. However, other tests are necessary to confirm that you have CKD, such as:
A complete blood count can show anemia. Your kidneys make erythropoietin, which is a hormone. This hormone stimulates your bone marrow to make red blood cells. When your kidneys are severely damaged, your ability to make erythropoietin decreases. This causes a decline in red blood cells or anemia.
Electrolyte level test
- CKD can affect your electrolyte levels. Potassium may be high and bicarbonate levels may be low if you have CKD. There may also be an increase of acid in the blood.
- a bone density test
- an abdominal city scan
- an abdominal MRI
Supplements and Medication for Chronic Kidney Disease
Your treatment may involve:
- iron and vitamin supplements to manage anemia
- calcium and vitamin D supplements
- erythropoietin injections to stimulate the production of red blood cells
- phosphate binders
- stool softeners for constipation
- antihistamines for itching
Cut Your Sodium Intake
This mineral is found naturally in many foods. It’s most common in table salt.
Sodium affects your blood pressure. It also helps to maintain the water balance in your body. Healthy kidneys keep sodium levels in check. But if you have CKD, extra sodium and fluids build up in your body. This can cause a number of problems, like swollen ankles, high blood pressure, shortness of breath, and fluid buildup around your heart and lungs. You should aim for less than 2 grams of sodium in your daily diet.
Take these simple steps to cut the sodium in your diet:
- Cook at home — most fast foods are high in sodium.
- Try new spices and herbs in place of salt.
- Stay away from packaged foods, if possible. They tend to be high in sodium.
- Rinse canned foods (veggies, beans, meats, and fish) with water before serving.
- Avoid table salt and high-sodium seasonings (soy sauce, sea salt, garlic salt, etc.).
- Read the labels when shopping, and choose low-sodium foods.
Some best foods for people with kidney disease
Cauliflower is a nutritious vegetable that’s a good source of many nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K, and the B vitamin folate. And also mashed cauliflower can be used in place of potatoes for a low potassium side dish.
One cup (124 grams) of cooked cauliflower contains
- sodium: 19 mg
- potassium: 176 mg
- phosphorus: 40 mg
Blueberries are packed with nutrients and one of the best sources of antioxidants you can eat In particular, these sweet berries contain antioxidants called anthocyanin, which may protect against heart disease, certain cancers, cognitive decline, and diabetes.
They also make a fantastic addition to a kidney-friendly diet, as they are low in sodium, phosphorus, and potassium.
One cup (148 grams) of fresh blueberries contains
- Sodium: 1.5 mg
- Potassium: 114 mg
- Phosphorus: 18 mg
However, it’s important to consume small portions to keep your phosphorus levels in check.
Red grapes are not only delicious but also deliver a ton of nutrition in a small package. They’re high in vitamin C and contain antioxidants called flavonoids. Which have been shown to reduce inflammation.
Additionally, red grapes are high in resveratrol a type of flavonoid that has been shown to benefit heart health and protect against diabetes and cognitive decline.
These sweet fruits are kidney-friendly, with a half cup (75 grams) containing
- sodium: 1.5 mg
- potassium: 144 mg
- phosphorus: 15 mg
Although egg yolks are very nutritious, they contain high amounts of phosphorus, making egg whites a better choice for people following a renal diet.
Egg whites provide a high quality, kidney-friendly source of protein.
Plus, they’re an excellent choice for people undergoing dialysis treatment, who have higher protein needs but need to limit phosphorus.
Two large egg whites (66 grams) contain
- Sodium: 110 mg
- Potassium: 108 mg
- Phosphorus: 10 mg
People with kidney problems are advised to limit the amount of sodium in their diet, including added salt.
Garlic provides a delicious alternative to salt, adding flavor to dishes while providing nutritional benefits.
It’s a good source of manganese, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 and contains sulfur compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Three cloves (9 grams) of garlic contain
- sodium: 1.5 mg
- potassium: 36 mg
- phosphorus: 14 mg
Olive oil is a healthy source of fat and phosphorus-free, making it a great option for people with kidney disease.
Frequently, people with advanced kidney disease have trouble keeping weight on, making healthy, high calorie foods like olive oil important.
One tablespoon (13.5 grams) of olive oil contains
- Sodium: 0.3 mg
- Potassium: 0.1 mg
- Phosphorus: 0 mg
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