Chronic Kidney Disease

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Overview

Chronic kidney disease corresponds to the gradual loss of kidney function. When there is a gradual loss of kidney function, the excess fluid, and waste products usually eliminated by the kidney, start to build up in the body and lead to the signs and symptoms of CKD.

Causes

This disease usually occurs secondary to some underlying disease process in either the kidney, or some other system of the body. Some of these underlying diseases are listed below:

  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Chronically raised blood pressure
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Glomerulonephritis
  • Interstitial nephritis
  • Prolonged hindrance in the urinary tract, from conditions such as enlarged prostate, kidney stones, and some cancers
  • Recurrent Pyelonephritis (kidney infection)

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of kidney disease aren’t usually prominent until irreversible damage has occurred to the kidneys. These are the following signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep problems
  • Changes in how much you urinate
  • Decreased mental alertness
  • Muscle spasms and cramps
  • Puffiness in feet and ankles
  • Constant itching
  • Chest pain, if liquid builds up around the lining of the heart
  • Shortness of breath, if fluid builds up in the lungs
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

Diagnosis

For the diagnosis of kidney disease, a detailed history and examination are the first step, after which some of the following tests can help confirm the diagnosis:

  • Urea, Creatinine, Electrolytes (UCE)
  • Urine sample direct report
  • Ultrasound kidney
  • CT scan kidney
  • Kidney biopsy

Treatment

Even though chronic kidney disease has no cure, sometimes, treating the underlying cause can improve kidney function.

Most of the treatment is aimed at treating the complications caused by this chronic condition.

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