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What to know about chronic kidney disease

What to know about chronic kidney disease?

To differentiate chronic kidney disease from acute kidney disease, one must look at the rate of degradation of kidney function. The stages of CKD develop over a period of at least 3 months with a subtle decrease in function of the kidney at the progression of early stages. In contrast, acute kidney disease refers to the rapid decrease in the function of the kidney in a very short span of time.

The function of the kidney is to regulate the components of blood by:

  • Removing waste
  • Maintaining steady electrolytes
  • Regulating the overall amount of water

The kidney is also involved in the formation of hormones. Thus the functionality of the kidney is multi-dimensional.

How does the kidney work?

To know what chronic kidney disease is, one must be aware of the process of functioning of the kidney. The blood gets into the kidney via a renal artery and inside the kidney, it goes into structures known as glomeruli where it is initially filtered. The rate at which this filtration takes place is known as glomerular filtration rate (GFR). GFR is very relevant to the CKD stages.

In a healthy person, the GFR is 100-120 ml/min/1.7 m^2. This value of GFR is slightly less in women than in men and it decreases with the progression of age. At the initial stages of CKD, the GFR is significantly affected.

What are the Causes of chronic kidney disease?

The most common and primary causes of chronic kidney disease are as follows:

Hypertension: One of the most common causes of CKD is high blood pressure. In hypertension, the walls of arteries supplying blood to the kidney begin to thicken in order to withstand the pressure. This results in a narrow lumen. This results in ischemic injury to the glomerulus of kidney cells. CKD stages further worsen when these growth factors result in the development of glomerulosclerosis, which is the hardening and scarring of the glomerulus. This hardening is the primary cause of the reduction of the nephron’s ability to filter blood. Over time this inability leads to chronic kidney disease.

Diabetes: Another common cause of chronic kidney disease is excess glucose in the blood. When the sugar level in the blood increases, the excess glucose starts sticking to proteins. It is known as non-enzymatic glycation. This process is relevant to the development of CKD stages as it is the reason for efferent arteriole of kidney cells to become stiff and narrow. This is known as hyaline arteriosclerosis. This condition makes an obstruction that creates it difficult for the blood to leave the glomerulus. The stages of CKD are progressed due to this as this obstruction causes hyperfiltration of blood in the glomerulus. Also, in this condition, the size of the glomerulus is increased resulting in the onset of chronic kidney disease. So diabetes causes the development of CKD stages in multiple ways.

Some of the other causes of chronic kidney disease:

  • Diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus
  • Infections
  • Long term use of medications like NSAIDs
  • Toxins
  • Smoking and Alcohol

Symptoms of chronic kidney disease

There are minimal symptoms of chronic kidney disease at the earlier stages which makes it dangerous as the symptoms only appear after the kidney has been considerably damaged in the latter CKD stages. However, there still are some of the symptoms of chronic kidney diseases depending upon the stages of CKD:

  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tremors in the hand while extending the wrist
  • Inflammation in the lining of the heart
  • Inflammation of feet and ankles
  • Less clot formation
  • Haematuria
  • Powdery snowflakes like appearance in the skin
  • Low calcium levels in the body
  • Increased potassium levels in the blood
  • Weak in brittle bones
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Anemia

How is chronic kidney disease treated

Treatment for chronic kidney disease often includes:

  • Regulating the underlying cause of development of CKD stages
  • Dialysis: It is considered as a bridge between end-stage chronic kidney disease and kidney transplants. This is because dialysis is just a temporary and artificial way to filter waste out of the blood.
  • Kidney transplant

Conclusion

In chronic kidney disease, the GFR decreases to the level of causing multiple complications in the body. This is because the kidney is a multidimensional functioning organ. CKD stages progress with minimal symptoms until it reaches the point where the symptoms become apparent due to the intense damage to this organ.

It is important to get your kidneys well checked up regularly in order to avoid the underlying degradation of your kidneys. To get an appointment at Alfa Kidney Care for the best check-up related to chronic kidney disease, contact us at: