Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a major public health concern and often goes undetected until it is very advanced, when dialysis or a transplant would be needed.
Because kidney disease often has no symptoms, it can go undetected until it reaches an advanced stage. But simple urine and blood tests can detect kidney disease at its earliest stages. When CKD is diagnosed its progression can be slowed or even stopped.
Learn the facts about kidney disease, your risk, and how to prevent kidney disease:
- Understand the important functions of the kidneys. Kidneys:
a. Regulate the body’s fluid levels
b. Filter wastes and toxins from the blood
c. Release a hormone that regulates blood pressure
d. Activates Vitamin D to maintain healthy bones
e. Release the hormone that directs production of red blood cells
f. Keep blood minerals in balance (sodium, phosphorus, potassium)
- Main risk factors for Kidney disease
b. High blood pressure
c. Cardiovascular disease
d. Family history of kidney disease, diabetes or high blood pressure
- Additional risk factors
a. African-American heritage
b. Native American heritage
c. Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander
d. Age 60 or older
f. Low birth weight
g. Prolonged use of NSAIDs a type of painkiller, such as ibuprofen and naproxen
h. Lupus or other autoimmune disorder
i. Chronic urinary tract infections
j. Kidney stones
- Recognize the symptoms
Most people with early CKD have no symptoms, which is why testing is so critical. The following are symptoms you need to pay attention to:
a. Fatigue, weakness
b. Difficult, painful urination
c. Foamy urine
d. Pink dark urine (blood in urine)
e. Increased thirst
f. Increased need to urinate (especially at night)
g. Puffy eyes
h. Swollen face, hands, abdomen, ankles, feet
- Get Tested – simple life-saving tests include:
a. Blood pressure. High blood pressure can damage small blood vessels in the kidneys and is the second-leading cause of kidney failure after diabetes.
b. Protein in Urine. Traces of a type of protein, albumin in urine is an early sign of CKD. Persistent amounts of albumin and other proteins in the urine indicate kidney damage.
c. Creatinine in blood (Serum Creatinine). Healthy kidneys filter creatinine (a waste product from muscle activity) out of the blood. When kidney function is reduced, creatinine levels rise.
d. Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR). This is the most sensitive and accurate gauge of kidney function. Doctors measure blood creatinine levels and perform a calculation based on age, race and gender.
NOTE: By the time symptoms appear, CKD may be advanced, and symptoms can be misleading this is another reason why talking to your doctor and having the right tests are so important.
- Stay healthy: Six things people with CKD must do:
a. Lower high blood pressure
b. Keep blood-sugar levels under control if diabetic
c. Reduce salt intake
d. Avoid NSAIDs (types of painkillers)
e. Moderate protein consumption
f. Get an annual flu shot
- Stay healthy: Things everyone should do:
a. Exercise regularly
b. Control weight
c. Follow a balanced diet
d. Quit smoking
e. Drink alcohol in moderation (if at all)
f. Stay hydrated
g. Monitor cholesterol levels
h. Get an annual physical
i. Know your family health history
- Problems CDK can cause
a. Cardiovascular disease
b. Heart attack and stroke
c. High blood pressure
d. Weak bones
e. Nerve damage (neuropathy)
f. Kidney failure: end-stage renal disease (ESRD)
Don’t put it off. Talk to your doctor about the appropriate tests. Remember, early detection can slow and/or stop the progression of CKD.