Posted On Dec 23, 2019
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Our kidneys perform a variety of crucial bodily functions, including blood filtration, regulation of blood pressure and haemoglobin levels. Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) implies damage of permanent nature to the kidneys, which is irreversible and happens over a period of time. This disease impairs all the functions of the kidneys. This results in increased kidney damage and worsening of blood pressure, anemia and bone disease.
There are 5 stages of CKD, depending on the severity. Though the kidney function is relatively good, there might be some protein, blood or cysts in the urine. When the disease is in this stage, there is scope for preventing further progression of CKD. Stage 5 is where the maximum damage to the kidneys occur. At this stage, medical management alone is inadequate to treat the kidneys and other options such as dialysis or transplantation need to be considered to replace the kidney.
Kidney disease usually doesn’t present any symptoms, unless there is a significant decline in kidney function.
In the initial stages, the symptoms may include:
Apart from these, when the kidney function declines beyond 90%, then the person may develop symptoms like:
The symptoms associated with kidney disease are vague and there is no specific symptom associated with it. Usually, by the time the symptoms appear and the patient visits the doctor, the kidney is already significantly damaged. This is the reason one should not wait for the symptoms to appear to get his/her kidneys evaluated and checked.
Early diagnosis is very important in kidney disease because it helps in getting to the root of the problem and stop the further progression of this disease.
The diagnostic techniques include:
The treatment for CKD depends on various stages. The first three stages are early stages where the underlying cause must be treated and no specific medicines for kidney disease are taken. For example, if a person has diabetes, the blood sugar levels must be kept under control. The same applies to high blood pressure as well. Quitting smoking is a very important step. The idea is to avoid things that are harmful to the kidneys, like painkillers. Any infections like kidney or urinary infection should be treated appropriately.
In the advanced stages, where there is a significant dysfunction and almost 60-70% of the kidneys are damaged, there should be more emphasis on controlling the blood pressure and things that are harmful to the kidneys.
There are certain medications such as Angiostein-Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and Angiotensin Receptor Blockers which are proven to prevent further progression.
In stage 5, where the kidney damage exceeds 80-90%, medications do not have any effect and the only solutions are either dialysis or if the patient is fit enough, a kidney transplant.
Exercise can indirectly help people affected by CKD as it helps control the blood pressure, sugar levels, keeps the weight under control, all of which help in preventing further progression of this disease. Moderate exercises like walking, cycling etc. for about 150 to 180 minutes a week is definitely beneficial in the early stages.
As the kidney disease progresses, beyond stage 4, it needs to be managed with specific medications and certain dietary changes such as reducing salt and fluid intake and getting any heart problems treated. In stage 5, the only life-saving options are dialysis and kidney transplant.