Kidneys are a vital organ in the human body. Fluid and waste are removed from the body by the two kidneys. They also have several other important functions. They rid the body of pollutants and drugs, regulate chemicals and water in the body and release hormones into the body. These hormones help the body make red blood cells and regulate blood pressure.
Chronic kidney disease is a condition wherein the kidneys stop working properly because of some sort of damage. They stop filtering the blood and other sicknesses can develop. Eventually, they may shut down totally leaving only the options of dialysis or transplants. Chronickidney disease is diagnosed only if the kidney disorder has continued for three months or more.
Most of the time chronic kidney disease is caused by one of two things: high blood pressure or diabetes. When sugar levels are too high, as in diabetes, organs including the kidneys can be damaged. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is caused by too much pressure on the blood vessels. This causes difficulty with the kidneys. On the other hand, chronic kidney disease can also cause hypertension.
A few of the common symptoms of chronic kidney disease are swollen feet and ankles, fatigue, the need to urinate more frequently and trouble sleeping at night. Usually at the onset, there are very little warning signs but symptoms increase in severity and frequency as the malady worsens.
Early detection is key to managing chronic kidney disease. Physicians use three tests to diagnosis this disease, blood pressure, serum creatinine and urine albumin. If it is diagnosed early on it may be controlled by diet and other small changes in health habits. If managed correctly treatments such as dialysis can be avoided or at least delayed.
There are two kinds of dialysis available to treat chronic kidney disease and there is also a kidney transplant that is an option. Dialysis basically does the work of the kidneys, allowing the blood to be filtered through and cleansed. One kind of dialysis uses a machine which runs the blood through a filter to strip out impurities and excess fluids. Another kind uses a membrane found in the abdomen as a filter to cleanse the blood.
If dialysis is not an option and there is a matching kidney donor, a transplant may be an option. Usually the original kidneys are left in place and a working kidney is implanted. The kidney donation may be from a living donor or a cadaver with matching blood and tissue types.
Talk to your doctor if you suspect you have or are likely to get chronic kidney disease. The earlier it is diagnosed the easier it is to manage.