Chronic kidney failure, also known as chronic kidney disease, is the condition that defines the measured loss of kidney function over time. As you know and we have covered here at Joe Cosgrove’s blog several times, kidneys are organs in charge of filtering waste material from the blood and disposing of it through the urine. In a way, the kidneys are filters for the body and allow us to remain healthy. As you can imagine, having such an important and arduous task can take a toll on the kidneys and every so often, people start to feel the effects of waste and excess fluids building up inside their body. One of the biggest problems with kidney failure ironically comes from their own resilience and the ability the human body has to withstand a great amount of damage before the effects become apparent. The symptoms of kidney failure are many, but regrettably enough, by the time they are present and unmistakably identified, the condition may be well advanced and some of the damage may be irreparable. Treating kidney failure focuses mainly on treating the underlying causes of it and thus trying to slow their progression. The primary treatment comes in the form of dialysis; a process that helps the body compensate for the kidney’s impairment by filtering toxins and easing up the burden of renal responsibility.
How do you know if you have kidney disease?
When it comes to kidney disease, sometimes the symptoms do not have to be present for you to have an issue without even knowing. During the early stages, the disease is not detectable by its signs as they are not even present in most cases, however, there are some ways of finding out if you have it by means of a blood test that measures your level of creatinine to see if they are abnormal. The best way to know if you have a kidney related disease is to get tested, especially if you are someone who has high blood pressure, suffer from diabetes or have a family member with any of those conditions, including kidney disease. Kidney related diseases are hereditary and so are the conditions that elevate your risks of developing the condition.
What are the most common causes of kidney failure?
It is known that diabetes and high blood pressure are probably the main causes of kidney failure but that doesn’t mean necessarily that everyone who suffers from either of those conditions will develop kidney disease. People with diabetes or high blood pressure need to be extra vigilant and get checked regularly. Lupus and acute kidney failure can also develop into a more serious kidney condition, and there are also some types of kidney disease that are mainly hereditary like in the case of Alport syndrome. Remember that none of the symptoms are normal and you should take them seriously from the beginning. Kidney disease is not something that appears out of nowhere but instead, it develops over a long time due to mostly negligence from those who do not check themselves on time.
What are the main symptoms of kidney disease?
The level of creatinine inside someone’s blood can be measured to determine the glomerular filtration rate or GFR. This number is considered at normal levels when there is a result anywhere from 66 to 100, but the problem is that sometimes symptoms do not show up until people have the GFR well below 30 and do not really feel sick until they are below 15. This means that in most cases symptoms get ignored, so watch for the following:
– Fatigue and weakness
– Swelling of joints and extremities
– Difficulty concentrating
– Poor Appetite
– Abnormal urination. This could mean constant or not enough, and also urine with abnormal colors and even blood present.
– Bad taste in the mouth
– Puffiness in the face, especially around the eyes.
How do you treat kidney disease?
There are options when it comes to treating kidney disease. On one side you have two different types of treatment based on helping the kidneys performs their function and on the other side, you have the possibility of a kidney transplant. While the damage is almost always irreparable, the treatment can help you live a more comfortable life and feel better in general. There are two types of dialysis: Hemodialysis uses equipment that extracts your blood and filters it externally to later inserts it again into your body after removing waste material, and peritoneal dialysis uses the lining inside your stomach to perform the same task inside your own body and thus remove toxins. The third option would be receiving a kidney transplant from someone with a healthy kidney who just died or even from a family member since one kidney can be enough to perform the necessary functions.
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