What is Kidney Disease?
Kidney disease refers to conditions and problems with the kidneys and their function. Kidney disease also called as a renal disease is a general term for when the kidneys are damaged and don’t function as they should. Kidney disease can be treated once diagnosed. Chronic Kidney disease is caused by permanent damage to your kidneys and can get worse over time. If the damage gets very bad, your kidneys may stop working. This is called kidney failure, or end-stage renal disease.
What Are the Symptoms of Kidney Disease?
Signs and symptoms of kidney disease may vary depending upon the type.
Initially, kidney failure may not produce any symptoms (asymptomatic). As kidney function decreases, the symptoms are related to the inability to regulate water and electrolyte balances, clear waste products from the body, and promote red blood cell production. If unrecognized or untreated, the following symptoms of kidney failure may develop into life-threatening circumstances. however, common non-specific symptoms of chronic kidney disease include.
- Shortness of breath
- Generalized swelling (edema)
- Generalized weakness due to anemia
- Loss of appetite
- Congestive heart failure
- Metabolic acidosis
- High blood potassium (hyperkalemia)
- Fatal heart rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias) including ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation
- Rising urea levels in the blood (uremia) may lead to brain encephalopathy, pericarditis(inflammation of the heart lining), or low calcium blood levels (hypocalcemia)
What causes kidney disease?
- Diabetes: If you have diabetes, your body has trouble using the sugar you eat for energy. When the sugar is not used correctly, it stays in your blood. This can hurt your kidneys.
- High Blood Pressure: If you have blood pressure, it means your heart is working too hard to pump your blood through your body. Instead of moving normally through your body, your blood moves quickly and forcefully. This can hurt your kidneys.
Other things that raise your chances of getting kidney disease include:
>>Having Heart disease
>>Having a family member with kidney disease.
What causes kidney failure?
Kidney failure may occur from an acute situation that injures the kidneys or from chronic diseases that gradually cause the kidneys to stop functioning.
In acute renal failure, kidney function is lost rapidly and can occur from a variety of insults to the body. Since most people have two kidneys, both kidneys must be damaged for complete kidney failure to occur. Fortunately, if only one kidney fails or is diseased it can be removed, and the remaining kidney may continue to have normal kidney (renal) function. If a both patient’s kidneys are injured or diseased, a donor kidney(s) may be transplanted.
The list of causes of kidney failure is often categorized based on where the injury has occurred.
Prerenal causes (pre=before + renal=kidney) causes are due to the decreased blood supply to the kidney. Examples of prerenal causes of kidney failure are:
- Hypovolemia (low blood volume) due to blood loss
- Dehydration from loss of body fluid (for example, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, fever)
- Poor intake of fluids
- Medication, for example, diuretics (“water pills”) may cause excessive water loss
- Abnormal blood flow to and from the kidney due to obstruction of the renal artery or vein.
What are the Stages of Kidney Disease?
Treatment may vary depending on the stage and cause of your kidney disease.
In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, treatment is focused on slowing the progress of kidney disease, and reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
Changes to your lifestyle may be needed to keep your kidneys healthy.
You may also be prescribed different medications to help keep your body in balance. Your doctor or chemist can explain what the medications are for. It is important to take them exactly as instructed.
Your doctor will also perform a Kidney Health Check on a regular basis to check how your kidneys are performing.
In the middle stages of chronic kidney disease, complications such as bone disease and anaemia may occur as the level of waste in the blood rises.
Treatment is focused on slowing the progress of kidney disease, reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and preventing and managing complications of chronic kidney disease.
The treatment is similar for early stages of chronic kidney disease. You may need blood and urine tests more frequently, and you may be prescribed more medications. At this stage of kidney disease, you may be referred to a kidney specialist.
Even with the best management, chronic kidney disease sometimes progresses to later stages. This is also called end-stage kidney disease (or kidney failure). In the later stages of kidney disease, your kidney function will need to replaced by either a kidney transplant or dialysis.
Kidney transplants can come from a living or a deceased donor.
Dialysis has a number of options, which include home dialysis (either peritoneal dialysis or home haemodialysis) and centre-based haemodialysis.
Treatment of Kidney Disease
When it comes time to choose a treatment for kidney failure, the decision may often be stressful. Learning as much as you can about your options and talking with your healthcare team to choose a treatment plan that’s right for you will help you and your family feel better prepared to make this difficult decision. Each option has different advantages and disadvantages so it is important to learn as much as possible. What might be positive for one person might be a negative for someone else?
When is treatment needed?
Your doctor will help you decide when you need to start treatment. The decision is based on:
- Your symptoms
- Other health problems you have
- How many kidneys function you have left
- Your nutritional health
How do I know which treatment is right for me?
There are two treatment options for kidney failure: dialysis (hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis) and kidney transplantation.
Talk to your family so you can decide which treatment will best fit your lifestyle needs. Also, you always have the choice to change to a different type of treatment in the future. As your needs and your life change over time, so may your treatment. However, there may be medical reasons why a particular treatment option is not right for you, so talk with your health care team to discuss your personal needs.
What is hemodialysis?
Hemodialysis is a treatment that removes wastes and extra fluid from your blood. It can be done at home or at a dialysis center. During hemodialysis, the blood is pumped through soft tubes to a dialysis machine where it goes through a special filter called a dialyzer (also called an artificial kidney). After your blood is filtered, it is returned to your bloodstream.
What is peritoneal dialysis?
In peritoneal dialysis (PD), your blood is cleaned inside your body, not outside your body. The lining of your abdomen (the peritoneum) acts as a natural filter. A cleansing solution flows into your abdomen (your belly) through a soft tube called a PD catheter. Wastes and extra fluid pass from your blood into the cleansing solution. Peritoneal dialysis is a home-based treatment and can be done at home, at work, at school or even during travel. Because of this, peritoneal dialysis may allow for greater flexibility.
What is a kidney transplant?
A kidney transplant is an operation that places a healthy kidney from another person into your body. The kidney may come from someone who has died or from a living donor who may be a close relative, spouse or friend. It can even come from someone who wishes to donate a kidney to anyone in need of a transplant. However, a kidney transplant is a treatment, not a cure, and it is important to care for the new kidney with the same care as before receiving the transplant.
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