Chronic kidney disease consists of the progressive and irreversible deterioration of kidney function. As a consequence, the kidneys slowly lose their ability to rid the body of toxins and control the volume of water in the body.
In most cases, chronic kidney disease develops after a variable period of time. Therefore, it may take years from the initial diagnosis for parents to reach the chronic stage.
The moment the kidneys lose their function, they also stop producing a series of hormones. These hormones help regulate blood pressure and stimulate red blood cell production and calcium absorption.
Many people don’t manifest symptoms of chronic kidney disease until it’s very advanced. The way to know if you have kidney disease is to get blood and urine tests.
Causes of chronic kidney disease (CKD)
Diabetes and high blood pressure are two of the most common causes. However, other diseases can also damage the kidneys, such as:
- Autoimmune disorders.
- Congenital kidney abnormalities.
- Certain toxic chemicals.
- Kidney stones and infections.
- Certain drugs, such as pain relievers, antibiotics, and cancer treatments.
Chronic kidney disease leads to a buildup of fluid and waste substances in the body. For this reason, it affects most of the body’s functions.
Evolution and treatment of chronic kidney disease (CKD)
Chronic kidney disease worsens slowly over time. In fact, the loss of function may be so slow that there may be no symptoms until the kidneys have almost stopped working.
The final stage of CKD is called end-stage kidney disease (ESKD). The evolution depends on the cause of kidney damage and the patient’s habits. At this stage, the kidneys no longer have the ability to remove enough waste and excess bodily fluid. When a patient reaches this stage of the disease, they need to resort to dialysis or a kidney transplant.
In most cases, dialysis is used when 10-15% of kidney function remains. Even people who are waiting for a kidney transplant may need dialysis.
Although treatments can’t cure kidney disease, they can slow its progression. These include medications to lower blood pressure, control blood glucose, and lower cholesterol levels.
Other treatments may include medications called phosphate binders, which can help avoid high phosphorus levels. Also, to treat anemia, a specialist may prescribe an iron treatment. However, it’s important to consult your doctor before taking calcium and vitamin D supplements.
Likewise, it’s just as important to follow the dietary guidelines, such as limiting protein intake. However, in turn, you must eat enough calories to avoid losing weight.
It’s also recommended for chronic kidney disease patients to keep up with their hepatitis A, hepatitis B, influenza, and pneumonia vaccines.
Can CKD be prevented?
As mentioned above, diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common causes of chronic kidney disease. For this reason, two parameters must be controlled to prevent kidney disease. Leading a healthy life can prevent these two factors or help keep them at healthy levels.
However, you can take healthy steps to keep your kidneys healthy. The recommendations we share below can help you lower your risk of chronic kidney disease and even the problems associated with it. Some of these recommendations are:
- Follow a diet low in salt and fats.
- Exercise half an hour every day.
- Get urine and blood tests at least once a year. Medical professionals recommend them to monitor adequate blood glucose levels.
- Avoid smoking.
- Limit your alcohol consumption.
- Weight control: try to maintain a healthy weight.
- Follow a heart-healthy diet. Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.