A chronic kidney disease diagnosis can be overwhelming for you and your family. However, educating yourself on the disease and how to to manage it is the first step in taking back your life.
Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
Healthy kidneys serve as your body’s filtration system by cleaning wastes and toxins. Healthy kidneys also produce urine and hormones, control your blood pressure, keep your bones strong, and filter your blood.
Kidney disease is diagnosed when your kidneys are no longer able to remove the waste from your body and balance your fluid levels. As a result, this build up of wastes and toxins causes symptoms that you may or may not be able to recognize.
Causes & Symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease
The most common causes of kidney disease are high blood pressure and diabetes causing two-thirds of chronic kidney disease cases. When your blood sugar is too high due to diabetes, the unmanaged blood sugar can cause damage to organs such as your kidneys, heart, nerves, and eyes. Further, uncontrolled high blood pressure can cause the arteries around the kidney to weaken. The damaged arteries are not able to deliver enough blood to the tissues in the kidney.
Sometimes, the symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease can go unnoticed. Keep an eye out for:
Shortness of breath
Changes in urination
Metallic taste in mouth
Stages of Kidney Disease
Kidney disease occurs in five stages. Understanding each stage can help you slow the progression of your kidney disease through treatment with a nephrologist, a kidney friendly diet, and healthy life style changes. The five stages are based not on symptoms, but instead on the level of efficiency in which your kidneys are able to eliminate waste from your body. This is measured by an equation called glomerular filtration rate (GFR), which is determined by a blood test from your primary care provider.
with normal or high GFR (GFR > 90 mL/min)
Mild CKD (GFR = 60-89 mL/min)
Moderate CKD (GFR 30-59 mL/min)
Severe CKD (GFR = 15-29 mL/min)
End Stage CKD (GFR <15>
Moderate CKD (GFR = 30-44 mL/min)
Explore Treatment Options
All treatment options are intended to slow the progression of chronic kidney disease, or CKD. Each person’s journey with CKD is different. The type and frequency of treatments your body will respond best to depends on several factors: health history, blood pressure, overall wellness, weight, and your stage of CKD.
Even in the earliest stages of kidney disease, partnering with a nephrologist will help you and your caregivers formulate a treatment plan that works best for you and includes:
An accurate diagnosis
Slowing the rate of kidney damage
Keeping other CKD complications at bay
Determining the best path forward for treatment (type of dialysis, biopsy, and/or transplant)
You are not your diagnosis. Learn more about your CKD journey