The human body is the most complex system, with 78 organs. Each organ plays a vital role in the functioning of the overall body. For example, the kidney may not always seem like an essential organ, but they play a critical part. The organ’s general functions include filtering any waste material from the blood. When the kidney fails and can’t produce or filter blood, this forms a condition called Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). This disease is silent and can advance without proper care over time. According to the National Kidney Foundation, a total of 37 million American adults have CKD, and millions of others are at increased risk.
What are the causes?
Several risk factors and conditions exist that can contribute to CDK development. Risk factors of CDK include family history, ethnicity, and pre-existing conditions. Other conditions that may impact kidney functions are:
- Diabetes: a chronic disease known for elevated blood sugar levels. Diabetes causes kidney disease due to the excessive amount of sugar in the blood that can cause kidney damage.
- High blood pressure: a condition that occurs when the blood vessels in your body are at a high level. When high blood pressure is not controlled, it can form near the kidneys’ artery and not receive enough blood.
- Polycystic kidney disease: a disorder inherited through genetics that causes cysts to form in your kidneys. When these cysts grow excessively, they can cause complications to the kidney that can eventually lead to chronic kidney disease or kidney failure.
- Urinary tract infection: a bladder infection primarily found in women caused by bacteria forming in the urinary tract. When a urinary tract infection is left untreated, it can lead to bacteria spreading to different areas in the body, including the kidney.
- Glomerulonephritis(glomeruli): an inflammatory disease that affects the kidney’s filter; when the kidney is damaged, it can filter and get rid of waste. As a result, it can lead to kidney issues.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of chronic kidney disease won’t be noticeable at first, especially in the early stages. However, these symptoms can develop anywhere throughout the body, from the cardiovascular, respiratory, neurologic, and reproductive systems.
A person experiencing chronic kidney disease may experience the following:
- Nausea & Vomiting
- Swelling (located on your legs, ankles, and feet)
- Loss of appetite
- Shortness of breath
- Uremic Breath (breathe smells like urine)
- Difficulties sleeping (frequent urination)
- Itchy/dry skin
- Change in urine (color, foam)
These are just a few of many conditions that can cause chronic kidney disease. To see a complete list, you can click here.
What are some preventions?
Research has shown that kidney disease causes more deaths than breast cancer. In addition, when left untreated, kidney disease causes kidney failure and death. Therefore, it’s essential to be aware and take the proper steps to detect and contact a physician. Unfortunately, there is no actual cure for CKD, but you can take the following steps to help maintain or prevent this disease:
Balancing a healthy lifestyle can be challenging but, it’s essential to practice healthy dieting. Eating healthy can be as simple as adding fruit and vegetables or substituting foods for healthier options. By maintaining healthy eating habits, you will be receiving valuable nutrition and prevent many health complications.
Laboratory Testing is a significant factor at the doctor’s office; this helps early detection and possible diseases. If you know you are at high risk or have a family history of chronic diseases, it’s essential to inform your doctor. By doing this, chronic kidney disease can be tested through urine samples and blood work.
The thought of getting up early or taking time out of your day to head to the gym can often be exhausting, but it’s very beneficial. By simply exercising a couple of times a day, you improve your blood circulation, overall health, and any chance of chronic diseases.
Please listen to our podcast here for more information regarding proper health choices with kidney disease.