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441 US 130,

East Windsor, NJ 08520

(609) 336-7518

09AM to 05PM EST

What Is Chronic Kidney Disease?

Chronic diseases are one of the most commonly occurring pathologies in medical practices. Among all of them, chronic kidney diseases have topped the list over the past few years, especially in the US population. Chronic kidney disease, which is also known as kidney failure, needs immediate medical attention because your kidneys are the most important vital organ that is responsible for detoxification and filtration. They regulate the major functions of your body, including blood pressure. This article gives insights into what is chronic kidney disease, how it presents itself, and what are common treatments carried out in regular practice, with particular attention to when you should see a doctor.

What is Chronic kidney disease?

Kidney failure, addressed as chronic kidney disease in medical practices, is characterized by a complete loss of kidney function and vitality. In cases of delayed stages of kidney failure, your body tends to be under severe threat of fluid imbalance, electrolytes, and muscle wasting as well.

Chronic kidney diseases are very common in patients with diabetes and high levels of blood pressure. The majority of its cases occur in patients over 35 to 60 years of age. However, it is also evident in some younger patients who are as young as 20 years of age.

When chronic kidney disease remains undiagnosed and untreated, it can be quite fatal and can put life at risk of the patient. Initially, kidney failure can be treated through palliative modalities, but dialysis is the only treatment left when the disease has progressed to an extensive stage. 

What are the prime causes contributing to chronic kidney disease?

Under normal conditions, a healthy kidney appears to be adequate in size, shape, and structure, so in case of chronic kidney failures, the kidney may shrink in size, and its functions are also reduced to half. Here is a closer look at what causes chronic kidney disease. 

Diabetes:

Diabetes Mellitus, which is characterized by an uncontrolled level of blood glucose, is one of the prime reasons for chronic kidney failure.

Polycystic Kidney Disease:

A polycystic kidney is comprised of multiple cysts or globules filled with pus on the surface of the kidneys. It hinders the proper functioning of the kidney as well as limits the blood flow.

Nephritis:

Your kidney consists of tubules called nephrons and your kidneys consist of thousands of nephrons, and any inflammation in those nephrons can result in damaging the kidneys. This condition of inflamed nephrons is considered nephritis. 

Urinary tract blockage

Constant obstruction in the urinary tract that can be because of multiple stones leads to improper flow of urine down the bladder. This, as a result, can cause the prostate gland to enlarge in males and so, unfortunately, these blockages and the constant inflammation can lead to cancers in the kidney and eventually failure.

 

What are the signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease?

Moving on to what are the symptoms of chronic kidney diseases.: 

  • Severe pain in the lower abdomen
  • hey muscular spasms
  • S swelling of the lower extremities of the body including the feet and the legs
  •  tiredness and fatigue
  •  nausea and vomiting
  •  sleep apnea
  • Pain in the chest because of fluid retention in the lungs

How is chronic kidney disease diagnosed?

To rule out chronic kidney diseases with others, it is important to carry out a series of diagnoses. The following tests validate the manifestation of chronic kidney diseases:

 Laboratory Tests 

Certain blood tests, such as urea creatinine, and blood culture, can be very insightful in showing the presence of the failure. Increased level of urea and creatinine, which is considered waste products, can be suggestive that the patient is going towards kidney damage. 

Urinalysis:

The presence of bacteria-raised, pus cells, and epithelial cells in the urine can be a classical sign showing the existence of kidney damage. 

Imaging Studies:

Certain diagnostic tools such as pelvic ultrasound, KUB, CT scan, and MRI are the best investigatory methods for the identification of the presence of tumor enlargement or hypertrophy of the kidneys or the presence of cysts. Diagnostic tests are also important to see how far the treatment is progressing.

What are the treatment modalities for chronic kidney diseases?

After you have understood, “What is chronic kidney disease?”, it is then important to go for its treatment. Let’s see how the treatments are carried out in routine practices in the US. 

The treatment is done based on detection and the stages. 

Early stage treatment
  • Medications 

If the kidney disease is acute and is recently diagnosed, then the physician can treat it through medications and prescribing certain therapeutic aides. The patient must follow the prescriptions strictly and not skip any dosage.

  • Low protein diet

Many physicians and kidney urologists recommend that a low-protein diet can be a viable treatment in the early stages. The kidney will absorb lesser proteins and prevent them from getting excreted into the urine. 

  • Lifestyle modification

Since chronic kidney diseases are linked to hypertension and diabetes, it is important that you change your dietary lifestyle. Less consumption of carbohydrates and salt can help in lowering blood pressure and maintaining diabetes mellitus, and as a result, it is less impactful on the kidneys as well.

Delayed stage treatment

When the blood tests, lab reports, and ultrasounds have indicated that the kidneys have reached a maximum level of failure and damage, it becomes mandatory to undergo non-palliative treatments that include: 

  • Dialysis

Kidney dialysis is one of the most conventional methods running successfully for blood purification and filtration. It is recommended to undergo two to three sessions every month. 

  • Kidney transplant 

Unfortunately, a lot of patients who have chronic kidney disease end up in total kidney failure in such cases, a kidney transplant needs to be done immediately. It may sound easier said than done, but the match of the right donor with the recipient is very important. First, you need to look for some well-known hospitals to attain a good kidney transplant where the treatment surgery is carried out by top-notch surgeons who have credible skills as well. 

 

5 best ways to prevent kidney problems

After learning about what causes chronic kidney disease it is very important that you need to follow the preventive measures to avoid kidney problems. Here is the list of preventive measures recommended by physicians. 

  • Tracking signs and symptoms 

It is not always important to be a medical professional to learn about any disease. In some cases, you can track the manifestation of the unusual signs and symptoms your body is going through. 

  • Less intake of potassium

People with chronic kidney disease should limit the intake of potassium since it gets reabsorbed into the blood rather than excreted out in normal conditions. The lesser the intake of potassium, the lesser will be the requirement to process it through the kidneys. 

  • Drinking plenty of water

The more water you consume, the more the kidney can filter off the toxins. The accumulation of unviable minerals in the body is directly linked to the decrease in water and dehydration. 

  • Dietary modification

Try to switch to a fresh and nutritious diet that is less in potassium, salts, and processed food. Try to maintain an optimum blood glucose level and eat food that also helps lower your blood pressure so that it does not burden your kidneys.  

  • Proper routine checkup 

One of the most important things one should do if kidney diseases run in their family history or if they have previously been diagnosed with it is to go for routine checkups with their physician. Not all physicians are trustworthy and so choosing a renowned doctor wisely is strictly encouraged.

When to see a doctor?

If you notice any of the signs and symptoms worsening over time or uncontrolled blood pressure despite taking regular medications, it’s high time that you see a doctor. 

Secondly, if you are taking medications for some time and still have not seen any difference positively, then know that it’s a red flag. Seeking the help of a physician immediately is very important. 

Follow the list of the below-mentioned risks that guide you when to see a doctor:

  • Burning sensation in the urine
  • Feeling an obstruction in the bladder while passing the urine
  • Uneventful findings in the ultrasound 
  • Constantly raised blood pressure
  • Pain in the lower abdomen 

The final verdict

 A majority of the patients and the normal population in the US have very limited information about what is chronic kidney disease and so getting aware of its causes, signs, and symptoms and seeking medical help at the right time can help in better prophylaxis against chronic kidney diseases. Individuals must refrain from following home remedies and medication researched through the Internet because it can be quite harmful and, in some cases, worsen the disease. Only a sound primary health care professional can retrieve you from such fatal diseases. 

 


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Dr. Farhan Malik Primary Care Physician
Dr. Shoaib Malik Primary Care Physician

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