Chronic kidney disease (CKD) or chronic renal disease is a silent but potentially deadly disease that’s non-discriminating and can strike anyone at any time because of its affinity for going months or even years undetected. It often goes unchecked because the individual is unaware of the subtle symptoms of the disease until it’s too late and the kidneys are in end-stage renal disease (ESRD). End-stage renal disease is characterized by a 90% loss of kidney function – and once diagnosed, the only life-saving remedy is a kidney transplant or kidney IgA nephropathy.
Causes of CKD
The most common causes of CKD are diabetic nephropathy, hypertension and glomerulonephritis. Together, they contribute to 75% of all cases of chronic kidney disease.
Symptoms of CKD
Chronic kidney disease symptoms often mimic other illnesses like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue and the flu. Feeling tired and weak, a loss of appetite, difficulty sleeping, difficulty concentrating, unexplained nausea and a swelling in the feet and ankles are just a few of the symptoms of this disease. Besides a general feeling of being unwell, advanced kidney disease sufferers experience accelerated atherosclerosis, accelerated bone loss (loss of calcium and phosphorus), and are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than the general population. Patients afflicted with chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease tend to have significantly worse prognoses than those suffering only from the latter.
Risk factors for chronic kidney disease are high blood pressure, diabetes, polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and having a close relative or family member with the disease.
Self-vigilance and education are vital to maintaining kidney health and keeping chronic kidney disease in check. Just a few of the things you can do to avoid kidney disease and keep your kidneys healthy is to invest in early detection – request a regular urinalysis and blood test through your family doctor (protein and serum creatinine can be detected in early tests), and also work to lower your triglyceride and cholesterol levels, because triglycerides are a fat and fats make kidney mobility more difficult.