WHAT IS KIDNEY DISEASE?
- Kidney disease is when your kidneys are not functioning as they should.
- When kidney disease lasts for more than 3 months, it is called chronic kidney disease or CKD.
- When the kidney is suddenly injured that is called acute kidney injury or AKI.
What happens when the kidneys fail?
- Waste isn’t removed
When you have chronic kidney disease, waste products and salts and water are not cleared from your body the way they should be. These waste products accumulate in your body.
Chronic kidney disease usually progresses slowly over time but how fast it progesses may be different from person to person.
- Signs or symptoms may not be obvious
Often, few symptoms appear until kidney function is reduced to less than 15% of normal.
- Other organs affected
The kidneys talk to many other body systems, including the heart, lungs, brain, blood, and skin. These too may be affected when there is kidney disease.
RISK FACTORS FOR KIDNEY DISEASE
- Diabetes and high blood pressure
- Family history
If someone in your family has kidney disease, you may have a higher chance of developing kidney disease than someone without this family history
Some medications, such as over-the-counter pain medications (NSAIDS), may cause or worsen kidney disease.
Older people and some racial groups may be more likely to develop kidney disease.
TESTS TO DETECT OR DIAGNOSE KIDNEY DISEASE
A blood test called eGFR (estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate) tells you and your doctor how well your kidneys remove wastes from your body. Normal eGFR is over 100. An eGFR of less than 60 may be because of kidney disease.
- Urine protein
Protein is natural in your body but is not normally found in the urine. A test can be done to check for protein in a urine sample. Too much protein could be a sign of damage to the kidney.
- High blood pressure
High blood pressure may be a sign of kidney disease.
A picture of your kidneys taken with an ultrasound machine can check the size of your kidneys and for cysts or kidney stones.
TREATMENT STRATEGIES FOR KIDNEY DISEASE
- Blood pressure
People with chronic kidney disease should discuss with their doctor the best blood pressure goal for them. For few patients, less than 130/80 is recommended as a treatment goal.
Patients with chronic kidney disease should take regular medicines to slow progression of kidney disease.
- Managing other complications
Patients with chronic kidney disease should be evaluated and treated for complications related to kidney disease such as anemia and mineral disorders.
- Healthy Lifestyle
Patients with kidney disease should not smoke, should be physically active.
YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON WHO CAN BEST MANAGE YOUR OWN HEALTH
- Managing your health
You are the most important member of the team. You should be an active member on our care team.
Learn about kidney health, ask questions, and talk regularly with us
- Working with our team
You will work closely with our team to come up with the plan of care which will make you feel comfortable.
A registered dietician will work with you to set goals for your diet; a physical therapist will help you set goals for exercise and physical activity, and a social worker will help you locate and cope with your kidney disease.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR TEAM ABOUT KIDNEY DISEASE
- What is the health of my kidney?
- What is the cause of my kidney disease?
- What type of changes in my diet will help protect my kidneys?
- How will I know if my kidney disease is getting worse?
- How frequently do I need to consult my nephrologist?