Department of Nephrology (Kidney Diseases)
Chronic Kidney Disease: Knowing is half the battle won.
What is chronic kidney disease (CKD)?
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) or Chronic Renal Disease (CRD) is a gradual and usually permanent loss of kidney function over a period of time. When the kidneys are damaged, they slowly reduce their functionality and stop doing their job over a period of time, and waste builds up in the blood, harming the body. If kidney disease is not treated, it can lead to kidney failure. Once the kidneys fail, a person must either begin dialysis or get a kidney transplant to stay alive. CKD also increases the risk for other problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, anemia, bone disease, impaired vision, infection and walking disabilities.
Who is at risk of CKD?
You are at risk for kidney disease if you have:
- High blood pressure,
- Heart disease, or
- A family history of kidney disease.
If you have any of these risk factors, talk to us about getting tested for kidney diseases and the steps you should take to protect your kidneys.
How do I know if I have CKD?
Testing is the only way to know if you have kidney disease. Simple blood and urine tests can detect kidney damage. Early kidney disease often has no symptoms. In fact, many people are not diagnosed until just before their kidneys stop working. Don’t wait for symptoms to talk to your doctor about getting tested. Early detection is important because kidney disease can be treated and managed efficiently if diagnosed in time.
What if I have CKD?
If you are diagnosed with CKD, your doctor will first determine the level of your kidney function and will then follow nationally recognized clinical practice guidelines to treat and manage your condition. SaveKidneys.com includes recognized patient care practices.
Diabetes is the leading cause of CKD.
Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease and kidney failure across the world, accounting for about half of all new cases of kidney diseases. Diabetes damages the small blood vessels of the kidneys, making it difficult for the kidneys to filter waste and extra fluid from the body. Once you have kidney damage, you cannot undo it. But you can slow it down or stop it from getting worse by controlling your diabetes.
High blood pressure and kidney disease go hand in hand.
High blood pressure and kidney disease are said to go hand in hand because they often occur together. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is the second leading cause of CKD. It is also a significant co-morbidity or result of having kidney disease. High blood pressure is found in more than 80% of patients who reach kidney failure. Work with your doctor to control your blood pressure and slow the progression of kidney disease.
Love your heart. Love your kidneys.
Diseases that affect the kidneys can also damage your heart. That’s why many doctors consider the heart and kidneys to be one interlinked system. Heart disease is a powerful predictor of kidney disease, and CKD usually leads to cardiovascular problems. In fact, more CKD patients die from heart disease than make it to kidney failure. So if you have CKD, you should be evaluated and treated for heart disease — and vice versa.
If it’s in your family, it could be in your kidneys.
If you have one or more family members who have kidney disease, are on dialysis or have had a kidney transplant, you may be at higher risk for CKD. Be aware of your family history and share it with your doctor. Make sure that you are screened for risk factors regularly and get the care you need.