Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a serious condition in which the kidneys cannot filter blood as well as healthy kidneys, or they are damaged. This causes excess fluid and waste from the blood to remain in the body thus inducing also other health problems. CKD is common among adults in the United States.
Short U.S. statistics
- CKD is the 9-th leading cause of death in the United States;
- 30 million people or 15% of US adults are estimated to have CKD;
- 48% of those with severely reduced kidney function but not on dialysis are even not aware of having CKD;
- Most (96%) individuals with slightly reduced kidney functions are not aware of having CKD;
- CKD is estimated to be more common in women than in men (16% vs 13%).
Risk Factors for Dеveloping CKD
Adults with these health conditions have a higher risk of developing CKD than those without them.
- diabetes – It causes 44% of all new cases of kidney failure.
- high blood pressure – It causes 28.4% of all new cases of kidney failure.
- heart disease
- a family history of CKD
Important!!! Keep your kidneys healthy by controlling your blood sugar and blood pressure!
Symptoms, Testing, and Treatment of CKD
- People with CKD may not feel ill, they even may not notice any symptoms. The only reliable way to find out if you have CKD is through specific blood and urine tests. They include measurement of both the creatinine level in the blood and protein in the urine.
- Once diagnosed, CKD may be approached by healthier lifestyle changes, including food and drinks choices, and usually can be treated with medications. These may prevent CKD from getting worse and may keep away additional health problems such as heart disease.
- People with diabetes or high blood pressure, who are diagnosed with CKD, need to discuss with their doctor the treatment of these conditions. It is important to keep their blood sugar and blood pressure under control and lower their risk for kidney failure.
Health Problems Caused and Affected by CKD
Kidney disease typically gets worse over time, even though treatment has been proven to slow progression. When the kidneys stop working, dialysis or a kidney transplant is needed for survival. Kidney failure treated this way is called end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Not all patients with kidney disease progress to kidney failure. In some patients, kidney disease progresses to kidney failure even with proper treatment.
Heart Disease and Stroke
- Having kidney disease increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Controlling blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels – the risk factors for heart disease and stroke – is much more difficult, but even more important in the presence of CKD.
Other Health Consequences of CKD
- Anemia or a low number of red blood cells can cause fatigue and weakness;
- Infections can appear because of a weakened immune system;
- Low calcium levels and high phosphorus levels in the blood can provoke problems with the bones;
- High levels of potassium in the blood (hyperkalemia) can lead to an irregular or abnormal heartbeat;
- Loss of appetite;
- Excess fluids in the body cause high blood pressure, swelling in the legs, or shortness of breath (because of fluid in the lungs – the condition is known as pulmonary edema);
- Lower quality of life or depression.
Risk of Dying
Premature death from heart disease and from all serious medical conditions is much higher in adults with CKD compared with adults without CKD.
Opportunities to Prevent CKD and Lower the Risk of Kidney Failure
- Manage risk factors for CKD that can be modified;
– High blood pressure.
– Excess blood sugar levels.
- Test for kidney disease among adults who are at high risk for developing CKD. Testing people with diabetes, with high blood pressure or both is a cost-effective way of identifying people with CKD.
- Manage CKD via the following strategies:
– Lifestyle changes to prevent more kidney damage;
– Use medications to slow CKD progression;
– Avoid conditions or exposures that can cause a sudden drop in kidney function (called acute kidney injury) or harm the kidneys, thus speeding up CKD progression – kidney infections, medications like ibuprofen and naproxen, certain antibiotics, dyes that are used to make the blood vessels or organs visible on X-rays or other imaging tests;