Chronic Kidney Disease
What is chronic kidney disease?
Chronic kidney disease, or CKD, is a condition referring to the gradual loss of kidney function. Kidneys help your body remove waste and excess fluid. They also help regulate hemoglobin and bone health through hormones. Kidneys help regulate your body's levels of salt and potassium, and produce hormones that help regulate things like blood pressure. When they don’t function properly, it can lead to many complications ranging from high blood pressure and anemia to an increased risk for heart disease.
What causes CKD?
Chronic kidney disease is often caused by diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders — many of them genetic.
What are the symptoms of CKD?
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they have a problem until CKD is advanced because the symptoms tend to be mild at first. If you experience the following, it could be a sign of kidney disease:
- Fatigue and a general lack of energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Poor appetite
- Difficulty sleeping
- Muscle cramping at night
- Swollen feet and ankles
- Puffy eyes in the morning
- Dry, itchy skin
- A need to urinate frequently, particularly at night
How is CKD treated?
While some some types of CKD can be treated depending on the underlying cause, often there's no cure. However, treatment helps control symptoms, reduce complications and slow progression. The earlier CKD is detected, the better. Left untreated, chronic kidney disease can lead to kidney failure and necessitate the need for dialysis or a transplant.