Chronic Kidney Disease

What is Chronic Kidney Disease?

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a condition caused by diabetes, high blood pressure, or another disorder that leads to a gradual loss of kidney function.

When you are diagnosed with CKD, it means that your kidneys are damaged and cannot do their job within your body. Since your kidneys monitor the levels of toxins in your blood and remove waste, that waste can build up to high levels and make you feel sick. If your CKD progresses, it may lead to kidney failure, which can be life-threatening without dialysis or a kidney transplant.

When first diagnosed, kidney function damage is divided into five stages of something called the Glomerular Filtration Rate (GFR). Here’s a breakdown of the five stages that you may have seen before:

Stage Description GFR
1 Kidney damage (protein in the urine) and normal GFR More than 90
2 Kidney damage and mild decrease in GFR 60 to 89
3 Moderate decrease in GFR 30 to 59
4 Severe decrease in GFR 15 to 29
5 Kidney failure (dialysis or kidney transplant needed) Less than 15

Fortunately, early detection and treatment can often keep CKD from getting worse. That’s why it’s so important to work with your doctor to understand the symptoms you’re having and to take preventative action with diet and lifestyle changes.

What are the symptoms of Chronic Kidney Disease?

Patients with CKD may not experience any severe symptoms until their disease is advanced, which is why early detection is so important. However, there are several symptoms you may experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Night-time muscle cramps
  • Eye puffiness
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Increased need to urinate, especially at night
  • Swollen feet and ankles
  • Decreased appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping

What is the standard treatment of Chronic Kidney Disease?

Your doctor will use three simple tests to detect CKD: blood pressure, urine albumin, and serum creatinine. The results of these tests will help you and your doctor understand how far your kidney disease has progressed and what treatment options are reasonable for you at this stage.

At Southside Kidney Specialists, we strive to treat the underlying CKD condition to postpone the need for dialysis as long as possible. Our goal is to help you achieve your maximum quality of life with hassle-free kidney maintenance and a low number of complications.