CKD; Chronic kidney disease

Definition: CKD is abnormal kidney function that is present for more than 3 months.

There are 5 stages of abnormal kidney function, determined by a blood test parameter called eGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate).

Abnormal kidney function can also manifest with blood or protein in the urine or abnormal blood electrolytes.

The kidneys have an essential role as a filter of toxins and excess fluids. When kidney function is impaired, toxins accumulate and cause illnesses such as tiredness, confusion, difficulty sleeping and more. Accumulation of excess fluid causes swelling of the legs and around the eyes (periorbital edema).

Kidney disease may present with little or no symptoms, or mild, or serious symptoms as mentioned above.

Aging can lead to abnormal kidney function. Untreated diabetes and hypertension are common causes of kidney failure. Other causes are kidney inflammation or autoimmune conditions, urinary tract obstruction, medications, toxins, or genetic conditions such as polycystic kidney disease.

Complications of CKD: CKD has many complications as follows

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Hypertension
  • Bone disorder
  • Vascular disease
  • Anemia
  • Infections

Management of CKD: Advanced stages require specialist care.

The specialist who takes care of someone with CKD is a Nephrologist. Regular follow ups and vaccinations are required to control complications of CKD as mentioned above. In severe CKD, dialysis may be needed or a kidney transplant.

Prevention of CKD: In some instances CKD can be prevented by optimizing control of risk factors such as diabetes and hypertension, also by avoiding nephrotoxic medications.

Summarized by Dr. Onuoha

Pic by Godaddy stock photo

Disclaimer: General health education only and not medical advice.

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