Fighting a silent killer: How to identify a chronic kidney disease?
Help stop the 'silent epidemic' of kidney disease
More than 37 million American adults struggle with kidney diseases, and most of them are not aware of it. One out of ten adults suffer from chronic kidney diseases. There are a variety of physical signs which indicate the same, but often people attribute them to other conditions. People with kidney disorder often tend not to show symptoms until the very late stages, when the kidneys fail or when significant quantities of protein are found in the urine.
About Chronic Kidney diseases
Chronic kidney diseases involve disorders that weaken your kidney and decrease its capacity to keep you healthy. When the kidney disease gets worse, the waste builds up to high levels in your blood and makes you feel sick. Kidney disease also increases your risk of suffering from heart and blood vessel disease. Such problems can arise gradually over a long time. Early detection and treatment can help in keeping chronic kidney disease from getting worse.
How can kidney disease be diagnosed?
Early kidney disease usually does not have any proper symptoms. Testing is the only way to know how well your kidneys are working. You must get checked for kidney disease if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiac diseases, and a family history of kidney failure.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is primarily diagnosed with urine and blood tests that detect chemical imbalances caused by the progressive loss of kidney function. The urine test is done to check for albumin. When the kidneys are damaged, a type of protein called albumin is passed into the urine. The blood test checks how well your kidneys are filtering your blood, which is termed as GFR(Glomerular filtration rate).
The tests may be accompanied by imaging tests and biopsies used to pinpoint the exact cause of the dysfunction. Kidney function tests are helpful for monitoring the progression of the disease and your response to therapy. Before proceeding for the diagnostic test, you may go for a consultation with the nephrologist who can guide you on the next necessary course of action.
Symptoms of kidney disease
Here are a few symptoms of chronic kidney disease:
- Fatigue – being tired all of the time
- Feeling cold
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling faint, dizzy, or weak
- Trouble thinking clearly
- Feeling very itchy
- Swelling in hands or feet
- Swollen or puffy face
- Upset stomach, nausea, vomiting
Two Most common causes of kidney disease
Your doctor will review your health history and can do tests to find out whether you have kidney disease. The type of treatment that you will receive depends on your type of kidney disease.
Too much glucose in your blood damages your kidneys’ filters. Over time, your kidneys can become so damaged that filtering waste and extra fluid from your blood can no longer take place. Sometimes, the presence of protein in the urine is the first symptom of kidney disease due to diabetes. When the filters are damaged, a protein called albumin passes out of your blood and into your urine. A healthy kidney won’t let albumin pass into the urine from the blood.
High blood pressure
This high blood pressure can damage the kidneys, so they do not work as well. If the blood vessels in your kidneys are damaged, your kidneys cannot function well in removing waste and excess fluid from your body. Extra fluid in the blood vessels tends to increase blood pressure even more.
How to protect and take good care of your kidneys?
By managing health conditions that cause kidney damage, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and so on, you can protect your kidneys.
First and foremost, you may consult a good nephrologist. PatientMD helps you schedule an appointment sitting back at home, workplace, and so on. During your next medical visit, you may clear your queries about your kidney health from your physician. Getting started may be the only way to ensure that your kidneys are healthy as early kidney disease may not have any symptoms. Your physician will help decide how often you should be tested.
Below mentioned are the few ways to keep your kidneys healthy:
- Make healthy food choices
- Include physical activity as a part of your routine
- Get an adequate amount of sleep for 7-8 hours approximately.
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
- Keep a track on the blood pressure and glucose level
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Stop smoking or using any other tobacco products.
- Practice stress-reducing activities
If you have diabetes, a family history of kidney problems or high blood pressure, see your doctor today to have your kidney function evaluated. Don’t neglect the health of your kidney. The sooner that you are evaluated, the sooner a treatment plan can begin. Take the first step today by setting up an appointment with one of our reputed and highly experienced nephrologists like Koushik Samanta, Nimisha Mathur, and Naushad Alam!!